The Best Pies in Toronto
The best pies in Toronto can be found in bakeries and pastry shops around the city, each with their own version a slice above the rest. Some stick to the traditional, serving a perfected copy of what Grandma used to make, buttery, flaky and filled with ripe fruit. Others raise the bar by adding crowd-pleasing details like chocolate drizzle tops and thicker shortbread crusts.
The origins of pie-making go back to 9500 B.C., when our ancestors made rustic free-form pies out of oats and wheat, filled them with honey and baked them over hot coals. The popularity of pies grew and spread throughout Europe via the Roman roads, until nearly everything seemed to be baked in some kind of pastry vessel.
My personal favourite, and one I'm hoping comes back in style, is the animated pie: A form of banquet entertainment, rabbits, birds, turtles, and even human beings were set into pies, to be released when the pie was cut. (That's why the old nursery rhyme goes "four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.") In the 14th century the Duke of Burgundy had a huge pie made that, when sliced open, released music from the 28 musicians stuffed inside. Now, doesn't that sound like a little slice of heaven?
Here are the best pies in Toronto.
Wanda’s Pie in The Sky will have you pie-eyed in Kensington Market. The classic crust is perfectly flaky and often beautifully latticed. As for the flavours, there's apple, Niagara peach, rhubarb, Ontario sour cherry, coconut, banana, lemon cream, key lime, chocolate hazelnut and pecan, to name just a few. To Wanda! More »
Holy heck, Phipps Bakery Café and its marvellous pies. There’s always a delicious twist; their blackbottom pecan pie has a chocolate crust and chocolate drizzle, the traditional pumpkin pie is amplified by spiced pepitas around the edge, and the white chocolate lemon mousse has a coconut meringue shell. More »
Cabbagetown locals have a favourite pie hole, and it’s Absolute Bakery and Café. Their rich buttery crust is fantastic, and the choices are too - there's pecan, apple, cherry, blueberry, mixed berry and French custard with fresh fruit on top. More »
Since 1957, Hot Oven Bakery has been serving up delicious pies around Toronto. They started as a little bakery in the Cloverdale Mall, and now have locations in Bloor West Village, Roncesvalles and the Kingsway. The secret to their success? Using butter to get that rich crust, and fresh fruit for the filling - the berry pies in particular are great. More »
Classic pie is a Mabel’s Bakery specialty, and the flavours on offer include sour cherry, peach, apple, strawberry rhubarb, lemon meringue, key lime and coconut cream. Fruit is used at the peak of the season for optimum flavour; the crust is golden, flaky goodness. More »
Once located in Kensington Market (hence the name), Kensington Natural Bakery has called The Annex home since 1991, and caters to allergies and delicate constitutions without compromising taste. The variety of pies often includes vegan, gluten- or wheat-free and refined sugar-free versions; peach, pecan and cranberry are often made with spelt crust, and they're nicely priced, too. More »
With a name like Hansen’s Danish Pastry Shop, you have to figure they have a leg up on pies. This old-school East York fixture offers a traditional European mom-and-pop approach to their pies - they're gooey, sweet, buttery, flaky, rich, piled high, and baked fresh daily with tender loving care. More »
Using fresh ingredients and home-style technique, chef Madelaine Sperry bakes up wonderful pies in her Mount Pleasant shop Flaky Tart. Fruit pies, covered with sugar-sprinkled pastry crust or with a crumble topping, come in flavours like apple-pear-cranberry, apple raspberry and strawberry rhubarb. More »