Every Thanksgiving, somehow someone somewhere ends up purchasing one of those frozen pumpkin pies for dessert. Sure, a pumpkin pie is a pumpkin pie and whipped cream makes everything better. But we know better. We’ve been to the mountain, and we’ve seen the pie promised land.
Inside a small Florida Mennonite community in Sarasota sits the mecca for homemade pies, Yoder’s Restaurant. Opened in 1975 by Levi and Amanda Yoder, the restaurant is famous for making Amish comfort food like fried chicken and pot roast. While you could die happy with just a few bites of the crispy fried chicken (locked inside a pressure fryer for 20 minutes, it’s cooked quickly to contain the juices), the pie is where nirvana lies. Choosing one slice from the over 30 kinds of cream and fruit pies feels like choosing a favorite child. Mom and sister like fruit pies, not too sweet, with berries and a good crust. Dad likes rich chocolate, without any bells or whistles. Brother loves homemade banana cream pie. I could eat a slice of good key lime pie everyday.
But if we could order just one slice of pie from Yoder’s, there is only one choice on our collective minds.
Chocolate peanut butter cream pie.
Crunchy peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar, sprinkled onto the best homemade crust to ever grace a pie pan, covered in thick chocolate pudding, topped with more peanut butter crumbles, two inches of homemade whipped cream, and more peanut butter crumbles.
When the waitress hands you the small plate, overflowing with a thick creamy wedge of this pie of pies, you’re never truly prepared for the weight of just one slice. Chocolate, peanut butter, and whipped cream swirl through your sensory receptors. Suddenly, you can think of nothing else, and for a brief moment everything seems right in the world.
This Thanksgiving marks the first year without Yoder’s founder and pie goddess Amanda Yoder, who died in June at the age of 84 after a battle with colon cancer. In the Sarasota episode of Man v. Food, Adam Richman and Yoder shared a slice of peanut butter cream pie (Yoder’s recipe). “If food is love, she’s Aphrodite,” Richman said of Ms. Yoder.
No preservatives, no cake mixes — everything in a Yoder’s pie is made truly and deeply from scratch. From the homemade pumpkin, to double crust blueberry, to red raspberry cream, Yoder’s knows pie.
Thanksgiving pie orders are due by Tues., Nov. 20 and can be picked up from the bakery window (how quaint is that?) on Wed., Nov. 21, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Baked pies are $16.95 and supposedly serve 6-8 people, if those people are the Jolly Green Giant and his family. Cream pies are $16.95 for the large (6-8 servings) and $12.95 for the “small” (4-6 servings).
As you prep for Thanksgiving, whether it’s a traditional made-from-scratch feast or a Hungry Man turkey dinner, show your gratitude with a non-frozen, made-from-scratch Yoder’s pie.