Short List: Apple Pie À La Mode

When done well, it’s not hard to see why apple pie is an American classic: a light, buttery crust; tender apples; and, most importantly, the goo – that delicious, thick stuff that’s created from the apples’ natural juices and the melting sugar in the filling – combine to create a flaky, earthy, sweet treat that I can’t get enough of. I believe apple pie and ice cream belong together and so order mine à la mode. Here are three favorite versions around town that feature this dynamic duo.

Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood
620 Market St., St. Louis, 314.421.1540

If you’re the type that favors fruit to dough, then this pie’s for you. Normally, I like a more traditional ratio of apples to crust, but Mike Shannon’s version might convert me. It’s packed to the gills with an abundance of luscious apple slices – almost a full apple in each slice! The tall pie is topped with a thick layer of brown sugar, butter and walnuts, which adds a sweet crunch and complements the tartness of the apples beautifully.

The Good Pie
3137 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.289.9391

Classics are meant to be riffed on, and every component of this pie certainly does that. The crumbly (and in some places crunchy) crust has coarsely ground almonds running through it, which adds sophisticated flavor and Italian flair. The apples are sliced super-thin on a mandolin and yet still maintain a firm texture. But what’s interesting here is that there’s not much of a distinct apple layer, likely due to the thinness of the apples and the thickness of the dough – though there is the requisite goo. Take your pick of any of the house-made gelato for the à la mode part, but the eight-bean vanilla is a stunner. (This pie takes 30 minutes to get to your table, so order it when you do your pizza.)

Annie Gunn’s
16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, 636.532.7684

New twists on familiar dishes are always fun, but sometimes you want the original, the real-deal-Holyfield. The apple pie at Annie Gunn’s is just that: A flaky crust is dusted with a cinnamon-sugar coating, adding a slight bite. There is enough goo to keep the pie moist by coating the apples, which still maintain their sweet, fresh flavor, and it’s all topped with cinnamon ice cream. Best of all, you don’t have to limit yourself to one slice – head over to The Smokehouse Market next door, where you can purchase an entire pie and stuff yourself silly.

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