Pie season is nigh, and sure, we all know we can turn to Marie Callender’s if need be. But at Hometown Pasadena, we believe it’s always better to support a local business instead of a national chain, and besides, we have a remarkable array of pie resources. Here are our favorites, including a bake-it-yourself option.
Pasadena’s hip caterer of the moment has four order-ahead Thanksgiving desserts, one very traditional (pecan pie with a shortbread crust) and three rather more modish ones: a pumpkin and gingerbread torte, a caramel apple tart and a cappuccino terrine. Each serves 8 to 10 or 12, except the terrine, which serves up to 15; prices are a steep $40 to $50. If you need a turkey and stuffing, they’ll do that, too.
107 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Old Pasadena, 626.440.0001, elementskitchen.com.
Sumi Chang’s acclaimed bakery does a banner business with order-ahead holiday desserts. Most popular are the apple and pumpkin pies and the pumpkin cheesecake, but we’re partial to the pear spice cake, and the apple cobbler has a loyal following. Pies are $25 to $27, the cheesecake is $34, and the large cobbler is $40. You can also order breads (pumpkin poppyseed), including perhaps the best dinner rolls in town.
950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626.577.1828.
Homey, all-American desserts are the specialty at this busy bakery and café, and the order-ahead Thanksgiving desserts live up to the Norman Rockwell fantasy. On tap this season are pumpkin, apple, and sweet potato pies, as well as a lovely pear tart. Prices are $22 to $30, depending on the size of the dessert.
807 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena, 626.441.0042.
Jennie Cook’s Make It & Take It
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, caterer Jennie Cook has a Make It and Take It party at her Glassell Park kitchen, just off the 2 on the edge of Eagle Rock. She provides all the pie fixings and culinary guidance, as well as lunch, live music, and local beer from Eastside Brewers. You can’t begin to beat the price: pecan and apple pies are $9 and pumpkin is $7. That includes all ingredients, the kitchen, professional advice, lunch, beer and music, as well as a gravy-making demonstration. You have to bring your own apron, pie pans and glass for beer sampling. Reservations are essential.
3048 Fletcher Dr., Glassell Park, 323.982.0052, jenniecooks.com.
Nobody loved Thanksgiving more than Sue Campoy, and all of Pasadena loves her pumpkin pie with an orange pecan crust. It serves 8 and is a reasonable (by Julienne standards) $27. That’s the only pie on tap, but you can get other Thanksgiving desserts, including turkey-shaped gingerbread cookies and individual spiced-apple croustades. And as with Elements, you can order the entire spread, from turkey with the famous rosemary-currant bread stuffing to maple-roasted brussels sptrouts with golden raisins and pancetta.
2649 Mission St., San Marino, 626.441.2299, juliennetogo.com
Little Flower Candy Co.
By now much of Pasadena has figured that there’s a lot more than candy going on at this friendly spot. It’s a breakfast and lunch café, a candy shop, a gift resource and a very fine bakery. Owner Christine Moore’s Thanksgiving offerings include a classic pumpkin pie ($14), a cranberry brown-butter tart ($18), an apple-quince crisp ($24) and, for those who must have chocolate, a divine chocolate-caramel tart ($22).
1422 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626.304.4800, littleflowercandyco.com.