Caramel Apple Walnut: Consistency is key to making Lucy's Sweet Surrender's caramel apple walnut pie ($16), says owner Michael Feigenbaum. He has been using fresh Idared or Cortland apples from Woolf Farms in East Rochester, Ohio, for the last 20 years. The dessert gets amped up with house-made caramel, roasted walnuts and a streusel topping. "It goes great with ice cream or just warmed up a little bit," he says.
20314 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-752-0828, lucyssweetsurrender.com
Chocolate Cream: Sisters Britt Reeves and Beth Kaboth, co-owners of Simply Delicious Pies, turn their popular chocolate cream pie ($16) into a wintertime treat by topping it with fresh whipped cream infused with natural peppermint oil and miniature candy canes. While outdoing the regular chocolate cream pie can be as difficult as squeezing down a chimney, "that just makes it a little extra special for the holidays," says Reeves.
3433 Lee Road, Shaker Heights, 216-273-3566, simply-pies.com
Pumpkin Pecan: Humble Pie Baking Co. owner Diane Sikorski understood her customers' deep existential dessert dilemma: Should they order a pumpkin pie or a pecan pie? Hoping to relieve at least that holiday stress, she had an idea. "I bet pumpkin and pecan would be really good mixed together,"Sikorski remembers thinking. Her pumpkin pecan pie ($24) uses local, organic ingredients such as hormone-free butter from Minerva Dairy to make a dense mousse inside a flaky, old-fashioned crust.
Sweet Potato: Gray House Pies uses a 200-year-old recipe to create a rich flavor with caramel undertones for its sweet potato pie ($12.99). "We spent about six months playing with the recipe we got from a minister down south," says head baker Gary Lydon. The tweaks include using homegrown nutmeg and adding Vietnamese cinnamon.
26075 Detroit Road, Westlake, 440-360-7870, grayhousepies.com