The Nine Best Pies in Broward and Palm Beach

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There are two camps of people: those who like cake, and those who like pie.

But what makes a good pie better than the rest? First, the crust; it should be rich and smooth on the inside, and flaky on the outside, with just a touch of doughy chew. Ideally, it can hold the weight of syrup-laden fruit or heavy creams and custards. Second, the filling, what should never be too sweet and cloying, too dry, or too dense. Neither should it be gummy, rubbery, or the texture of industrial gel. Last, a topping that compliments but doesn't steal the show, whether it's a fluffy meringue or dense cloud of whipped cream.

These are the criteria by which we've selected the best pies Broward and Palm Beach County have to offer. Whether you prefer pumpkin or apple, chocolate cream or Key lime, there's a sweet dessert here for you.

9. Lemon Meringue from Lester's Diner
250 W. State Rd. 84, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-5641.
There are so many different types of pie, but cream pies — a diner standard — could be in a category of their own. It's not about flakiness or fruitiness with these babies. Instead, it's just about decadence. If you're looking for a spot that specializes in this breed of pie, look no further than Lester's Diner in Fort Lauderdale, where you can find everything from banana, chocolate, and coconut cream to a beautiful multidlayered Boston cream. All the pies (and cakes) on the menu at this classic 24-hour diner are made in-house, including the fruit ones. Our favorite, however, is the lemon meringue — the most voluminous one — a tart lemon custard number heaped with a fluffy cloud of meringue.

8. Key Lime Pie from Bob Roth's New River Groves
5660 Griffin Rd., Davie. Call 954-581-8630, or visit NewRiverGroves.com.
Though the folks at the shop bake other pies, this classic South Florida staple is one that's been around since 1964. Although we can't speak to the real-world measure of fame afforded to Terry's Famous pies, it's fair to say they enjoy a steady following. This classic version of Florida's official state pie is tart and creamy with a crumbly graham crust. Though the whipped topping — instead of meringue — may make some purists balk, it's hard to argue that this isn't one delicious slice of Sunshine State nostalgia. The best part of the appeal of a Terry's pie is the weekend afternoon trip out to Davie to the Old Florida roadside fruit stand to pick one up. 

7. Raw Vegan Pie From Jugofresh 
Whole Foods Market (Boca Raton & Fort Lauderdale). Call 786-472-2552, or visit jugofresh.com.
With butter-based pastry crust and sugar-laden cream and fruit fillings, pies aren't exactly bastions of nutrition, but raw vegan pies can be. This holiday season, Miami-based Jugofresh is once again offering its specialty raw pies in flavors like pumpkin, chocolate chip derby, and key lime. The raw key lime pie features a green boost from a chlorella dusting, along with fresh lime, agave, avocado, vanilla extract, gray sea salt, and coconut oil. Likewise, the raw chocolate chickpea cookie dough derby pie with raspberry coulis includes cashews, coconut mylk, cacao powder, chickpeas, dates, almond butter, and chia seeds. Now that's a good reason to have dessert. Pies are currently on pre-sale at Whole Foods Market locations in South Florida and will be available for pick-up starting December 23 in both Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton.

6. Storkberry Pie from Stork's Bakery & Coffee House
2505 NE 15th Ave., Wilton Manors. Call 954-567-3220, or visit storksbakery.com.
Jim Stork is the man behind Stork's Bakery & Coffee House in Wilton Manors, a combination café, coffeehouse, and bakery that's open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night bites 365 days a year. Of all the fare, dessert is not a course to be missed here: the bakery turns out some sinfully delicious cakes, tortes, cookies, cheesecakes, and — of course — pie. The eponymous Storkberry pie created by pastry chef Jerry Pond is a house blend of blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and strawberries cradled in a sinfully rich oatmeal crust.

5. Chicken Pot Pie From The Good Pie Company
5665 S. University Dr., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-562-4760, or visit thegoodpiecompany.net.
There's more than sweet fruit and cream pies baking up at the Good Pie Company in Davie, where owners Marti and Frank Reich specialize in all sorts of savory and sweet options. Most pies are available in three sizes and range in size from nine to 12 inches. Aside from the apple pie (the most popular pie they make), another crowd favorite isn't even a traditional pie flavor. Rather, it's one of the Good Pie Co.'s savory meat offerings — the chicken pot pie — made with peas, carrots, green beans, and a creamy sauce thickened with pureed sweet potato. It's followed up by the Ruben pie, a flaky pastry crust stuffed with homemade corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. The menu changes often, and if you like to switch things up, the pie of the month will get you some creative options.

4. Peanut Butter Cream Pie from Smoke BBQ 
3351 NE 32nd St., Fort Lauderdale. Visit eatbbqnow.com.
A new Smoke BBQ is set to open in Fort Lauderdale, and although we're excited for all that glorious smoked meat, we also got an early taste of a new menu item available only at the second location: from-scratch peanut butter cream pie. The Amish recipe is a family hand-me-down, compliments of Smoke BBQ co-owner Scott Kennedy's wife, whose grandmother makes the pie for special occasions. It's an old-school Americana dessert, a dense pudding cream filling layered between fresh whipped cream with a crumbly peanut butter crust thickened by corn starch and confectionary sugar. The resulting pie is so fluffy, creamy, and gooey they have a hard time serving it as a uniform slice, so they put it in a cup instead, and dubbed it Scoop-O-Pie. Although peanut butter is the signature flavor, expect to find seasonal and specialty cream pies offered from time to time. Smoke BBQ Fort Lauderdale will also be selling the pies whole. 

3. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie From The Upper Crust Bakery
2015 N Dixie Hwy, Lake Worth. Call 561-586-5456, or visit theuppercrustpies.com.
Founded in 1978 by Raul Quintero, who bought an old cake shop off Dixie Highway. Rather than open a full bakery, he focused solely on pie. Today, his son Rudy continues the family tradition, but not much has changed since those early days. Nothing is canned. Dough is hand-mixed and formed daily. And the size — a 9-inch deep dish — makes for the perfect ratio of filling to crust. The Upper Crust Key Lime Pie has been voted the "best" in the area time and time again, but there are so many more that are equally crave-worthy. You'll have to call a day ahead to order a strawberry pie. If that's not impulsive enough for you, the store's pastry case usually has a good selection of raspberry, apple, peach, or banana and chocolate cream.

2. Coconut Cream Pie from Calypso Restaurant & Raw Bar
460 S. Cypress Rd., Pompano Beach. Call 954-942-1633, or visit calypsorestaurant.com.
Good pie from an old-school seafood joint? Yup. After your meal, don't forget dessert. Or, if you're just feeling like pie, order a whole one. Even though they aren't traditional island fare, they ones baked up by co-owner Lora Ternosky are good enough that customers will call and reserve their share like it's the coveted corner table at the new hot-spot restaurant on a Friday night. For this reason, Lora will bake her famed double coconut cream pie daily, a dense coconut-dimpled custard jiggling atop a butter-fused chocolate and toasted coconut crust.

1. Key Lime Pie from Gramma's Bakery
14466 S. Military Trail, Delray Beach. Call 561-496-0185.
Broward County might have its Terry's Famous, but Palm Beach County has its own version of Key lime pie. At 5-year-old Gramma's Bakery in Delray Beach, bakery manager Giacomo says he has a few secrets about how it's made — and he's not sharing. What we do know: This pie offers the perfect balance of all the critical Key lime pie elements, and stands as one of the best takes we've sampled in South Florida (if not, in our opinion, the very best; hence the reason it receives the number-one designation on this list). Giacomo's OG recipe has been distilled down to its most essential parts: a buttery and crunchy crust; a smooth, gelatinous custard; and a balanced combination of sweet and sour flavors. And no meringue toppings here, just a few fresh, fluffy tufts of whipped cream.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

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