Kitchn Love Letters

The “Gorgeous” Store-Bought Frozen Pie I Bring to Every Holiday Party

published Dec 13, 2023
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The Maine Pie Co. gluten-free apple pie
Credit: Michelle Lau

Ever since I was a child, pie has been our family’s go-to dessert. My mom would stop by Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery, and we’d select a pie from the endless list of options and bring it over to my grandma’s house to share. 

Now, years later, finding a pie that rivals those memories can be tricky for me — especially because I’ve been eating a gluten-free diet. Truthfully, it’s pretty hard to find a crust that can hold up to its buttery, non-gluten-free counterpart. On a handful of occasions, I’ve tried recreating a flaky and juicy gluten-free pie myself, but rolling out the crust and mixing up a delicious filling takes more time than I often have, and I can never seem to get my pie to taste as good as the ones from my local specialty bakery. 

I’ve plunked down a hefty sum to find a solid pie, and over the years I’ve built a list of must-order bakery staples. So I was surprised to find that my new favorite pie was waiting for me at my local Sprouts Farmers Market — no advanced orders needed!

Credit: Michelle Lau

What’s So Great About The Maine Pie Co. Gluten-Free Apple Pie?

Jill Miller, who runs The Maine Pie Co. (based in Maine, naturally), once owned The Runcible Spoon in Nyack, New York, where she was famous for her tasty pastries. She later chose to specialize in gluten-free pies for one very simple reason: “My husband has celiac disease, and we could not find a gluten-free pie on the market that tasted and looked homemade,” she says. “Anyone can make a good pie, but not a good gluten-free pie.” 

Credit: Michelle Lau

Miller creates lab-certified, frozen, gluten-free pies made with brown and white rice flours and ships them off to grocery stores, like Sprouts, Kroger, Harris Teeter, and Whole Foods Market, to name a few. (You can also buy them directly on the company’s website.) Maine Pie Co. currently has nine pie flavors, including classics like pumpkin, blueberry, sour cherry, and apple (my favorite, so far!). You can also spot its best-selling 9-inch pie shells, a handful of tarts, and a couple of mini pies, on shelves too. 

I’m here for the full-size pies and, believe me, these pastries are really, really good. The sweet and tart apples are sourced locally in Maine and made into pies the same day. Miller says she learned this trick while running The Runcible Spoon. Back then, to ensure an always fresh baked pie, her team “would assemble, freeze, and bake off as needed,” she explains.  

Because you’re baking these pies at home, they taste just-out-the-oven fresh and look gorgeous. 

Credit: Michelle Lau

What’s the Best Way to Eat The Maine Pie Co. Gluten-Free Apple Pie?

When I first tried the company’s classic apple pie, I was in dessert heaven! It’s a cinch to bake — I opened up the box, unsealed the frozen pie, and placed it in a preheated oven. Following the directions to a T, I baked the pie for 20 minutes, reduced the heat (from 425°F to 350°F), and continued to bake for another 50 minutes until the lattice crust turned a lovely golden-brown and the apple cinnamon filling was bubbling. The scent of butter and warming spices filled my kitchen.

Credit: Michelle Lau

After carefully taking the picture-perfect pie out of the oven to let it cool and spending a good portion of time admiring my efforts, I got out a carton of vanilla ice cream and served each warm slice with a dollop. The crust is flaky, and balances nicely with the sweet apples mixed with just the right amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. 

It’s now become my go-to dessert for holiday parties — and guests can’t even tell it’s gluten-free!

Buy: The Maine Pie Co. Gluten-Free Apple Pie, $21.99 for 32 ounces at The Maine Pie Co.

What store-bought desserts are you buying for your next holiday party? Tell us in the comments below.