Pie day is Tuesday, and no, I don't mean PI Day. National Pie Day has its own dedicated 24 hours in January, and it's meant to be a celebration of the baked creation—according to Google, "a day for all to bake or cook their favorite pies."
In the off chance you don't have time to make your own pie tomorrow, however, we did a taste test of all the pies at the iconic Houston Bakery, Three Brothers. You know how sometimes you just need someone to tell you to go eat pie? That's what we're about to do. If you need another excuse? All pies, excluding deep dish, will be 10% tomorrow online and in-store using the code ILOVEPIE.
After much pie consumption and discussion, here were our findings:
Lemon meringue pie: The lemon meringue was by far the most aesthetically pleasing, with a globular hemisphere of a top covered in tons of tiny toasted piped meringue peaks that seem to spring up when you open the box. The pie also had good structural integrity with a lemon filling that held together relatively cleanly when sliced and a impeccably stiff and fluffy meringue. However, while some tasters enjoyed the tangy lemon flavor, most tasters detected a vague artificial flavor that ruled this out from being our favorite pie of the night.
Apple pie: The gorgeous lattice top of this pie was more akin to a cookie than a typically flaky and tender pie crust with its almost crunchy, sugar-topped texture. The chunks of apple were toothsome, not mushy, but tasters thought the filling could have used some more cinnamon or other spices. We tasted this pie at room temperature and heavily favored the theory that this pie could be greatly enhanced by being warmed and served a la mode (we later tested this theory and found we were correct; the texture of the pie crust was almost melt-in-your-mouth like a thick, soft shortbread cookie).
Pecan pie: I've had a soft spot for this pie ever since we did this pie tasting. The crisp short crust is still delicious and the nuts hold their crunch well even when encased in the gooey syrup layer. The only downside of this pie? We also tasted the chocolate fudge pecan pie and, well, there's not much plain pecan pie can do against that.
Cherry pie: Similar to the apple pie, this pie was topped with an attractive, though oddly crunchy cookie-like lattice. Inside, however, the vibrant red filling is studded with chewy morsels of cherry that provide just the right amount of tart against the surrounding syrup and blandly sweet crust. Again, we tasted this pie at room temperature but when we later warmed it up, the crust softened into a much more enjoyable texture.
Chocolate mousse pie: Take a Three Brothers pie crust, fill it with swirls of chocolate mousse, and top it with shavings of dark chocolate and generous swirls of chocolate whipped cream, and you've got their chocolate mousse pie. It's a chocolate lovers dream that doesn't taste overly heavy. The chocolate shavings add a nice textural contrast against the ethereal whipped cream and the thicker mousse layer. Although one taster thought the flavors were one-dimensional, most tasters loved this creamy pie. For chocolate lovers, it is quite possibly the perfect indulgence.
Key lime pie: I've never been a fan of key lime pie, but this pie converted me. The creamy lime custard is perfectly tangy and provides the perfect vehicle to sweep up the crumbs that will surely be left by the crumbly graham cracker crust. Topped with a thick layer of whipped cream and a few shavings of lime zest, this pie was one of the richest pies we ate: most tasters were happy with just a sliver, but virtually everyone loved this pie.
Chocolate fudge pecan pie: Edging out the key lime to take the clear winner of the bunch, even people who claimed to not love pecan pie enjoyed this pie—imagine a soft brownie baked into the filling of a pecan pie. Three Brothers riffs on their classic pecan pie by adding cocoa to the filling, resulting in a fudgy, welcomingly bitter contrast to the typically uber-sweet pecan pie filling. It's a must-get if you love pecans and chocolate, and probably even if you don't.
So there you have it: our thoughts on almost every single pie from Three Brothers Bakery. Next up on our list to tackle? Their famed Pumpecapple Piecake (three layers of cake each encasing a separate pumpkin, pecan and apple pie—this one's a real splurge at $250 per piecake). Stay tuned for that adventure.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.