If you can’t  be with your family and friends for the holidays, send them love (and dessert, which is kind of the same thing) by shipping a pie from one of the West’s favorite bakeries.

When a Big Box Arrives, And It’s Mail Order Pie, That’s Amore

I have told one story about Thanksgiving that demonstrates my habit of making too many desserts—and the odd tension that can surface during the making of a big, family holiday meal—so many times that many of my friends have it memorized. I’ll skip over some of the uglier details and get to the nut of it.

During one particularly stressful Turkey Day, a bossy but beloved family member saw me peeling apples for a crisp and asked if we really needed a third dessert. “Do we really need another dessert, Christine?” she asked, her tone laced with consternation. We already had two beautiful pies displayed on the counter. I replied, “If this holiday were about needs and not wants, you might be having your turkey back home in New Jersey.”

It’s true. I said it. It wasn’t a proud moment, but it was a memorable one. And it sums up my general attitude about important feasts, which is—stated simply—”Sometimes I overdo it. No further comment necessary.”

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Which brings me to this mail order pie story. Is it absolutely mandatory to have a pie shipped directly from a favorite Oregon farm, or from a bakery that’s a sentimental favorite? Do you need to send fruit baked in a flaky crust packed carefully in a box on a plane? No. But when you picture the delight of your loved ones opening that box, and knowing that you loved and missed them enough to ship a pie, a borderline absurd gesture like this seems very worth it.

Here’s a round up of our favorite Western bakeries that are making the very best pies you absolutely do not need.

But you want them anyway.