6 Delicious Destinations for Pie

Foolproof spots around the state for flaky, fruit-filled gems.

Pie Lady Cafe
At Pie Lady Cafe, clockwise, Christine McHale’s apple, cherry-almond and pecan pies. Photo by Felicia Perretti

[Editor’s note, updated April 13: Some bakeries have temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as noted below. The ones still open are taking special precautions to protect customers, but could use your support more than ever. As always, we urge readers to take all necessary precautions as advised by health experts.] 

READ MORE:
Your Guide to the Garden State’s Best Bakeries
Our 3 Favorite Spots for Crumb Cake
7 Bakeries to Visit If You Have Dietary Restrictions

Penza’s Pies

Hammonton

Following an early ’70s divorce, Evelyn Penza marshaled her family and converted her granddad’s barn in the Pinelands into a pie place. Her mom was the pie whisperer. Penza learned from her, then went deep. “It took two years to perfect the recipe,” she says. Now, about to turn 80, Penza makes about 19 varieties. “My grandchildren say, ‘Write a book, Granny, so we know how to do it.’ I haven’t gotten to that yet. But I did teach English for 35 years.” School yourself on her Very Berry (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and a curveball—“I had to throw in”—peaches).—EL

51 South Myrtle Street, 609-567-3412

Hainesville General Store

Sandyston

Since they bought the 1883 store in 1996, Megan and Bob Horst have made this rural spot a pie destination. Megan’s fruit pies each weigh in at over 4 pounds. Her blueberry pie has won a blue ribbon at the New Jersey State Fair every year since 2015.—KTH

283 Route 206, 973-948-4280

Pie Lady Cafe

Moorestown

First thing you notice is the kindness pie lady Christine McHale radiates to all her customers. Her late mom, Pat, taught her to roll crust when she was a kid. (Mom’s trick: blending butter and shortening improves flavor and texture.) A rustic feeling endures. “It doesn’t matter if your cups match, it’s what you produce,” McHale reflects. Standouts include Mom’s feather-light coconut-custard pie, perfumed with nutmeg. Watch for a 30-seat spring expansion, with pie-centric breakfast and lunch service dedicated to Pat’s memory.—JH

9 East Main Street, 856-778-7437

The Pie Store

Montclair

(Temporarily closed)

Turn back the centuries, and pies were savory before they were sweet. Samantha Codling, a transplanted Brit, grew up on the likes of steak, ale and mushroom pie, which she sells here. Beneath her redoubtable crusts lurk entire meals: the best-selling chicken pot pie with white meat chunks as big as your thumb, and football-shaped pasties like sweet potato, blue cheese and onion. Though 70 percent of her sales are savory, don’t overlook her sweet pies, which burst with chunky fruit. You’ve no doubt heard that the Brits have an epic sweet tooth. Codling’s desserts, though, are quite restrained. Exhibit A might be the petite key lime pie, made with gently sweet Persian limes and set on a crunchy crumb base. It’s best served semi-frozen. As the English might say, it’s smashingly refreshing.—EL

100 Watchung Avenue, 973-744-4424

Terhune Orchards

Princeton

Choose from 20 different pies, including four sugar-free ones. Some of the farm’s best baked goods involve the Stayman-Winesap apple, available most of the year. Tart yet sweet, crisp and rugged, it’s “ugly on the outside, but delicious inside,” says Pam Mount, who runs the farm with husband Gary and her daughters. Stayman-Winesaps star in apple pies, of course, but also in Mama’s apple cake and the hefty butter-crumb apple crisp. The apple also anchors Terhune’s fresh-pressed cider, a key ingredient in its superlative cider doughnuts. Buy a half dozen cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, munch as you meander the farm trails, then visit Terhune’s winery. Dry apple wine pairs well with dessert.—JH

330 Cold Soil Road, 609-924-2310

Windy Brow

Fredon

The Hunt family, who own and operate Windy Brow, have been tilling the land in Sussex County since they arrived in 1680. Windy Brow was a dairy farm long before it became an orchard in the 1940s and began knocking out pies—like the terrific Very Berry, with streusel topping—worth the drive from anywhere.—MRB

359 Ridge Road, 973-579-9657

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