Sweeten up your holiday with these twists on traditional pie

Want a fresh take on holiday traditions? From dessert pizza to apple pie mimosas, here are some unique food and drink alternatives for the fall — plus a few recipes!

Nolita Hall takes a pizza pie to a new level with its Apple “Pie” Dessert Pizza. This apple pie slash sweet pizza combo has a honey dough base, coconut and vanilla icing, honey-glazed walnuts, cinnamon mint and, of course, apples. The seasonal Hidden Rose apples — sourced from San Diego-based Specialty Produce — are caramelized and spiced with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice. Priced at $13, the dessert feeds four to six people. Enjoy the slice at the Little Italy eatery or take a pizza to-go from Nov. 18 to 29. 2305 India St., Little Italy;

Apple "Pie" Dessert Pizza from Nolita Hall
(Coast Creative)

Can’t decide between pie or cake? Try a Pumpkin Cheesecake from SusieCakes, a bakery at One Paseo and in Carlsbad. The eight inch cheesecake, which costs $39, is paired with graham cracker crust and topped with sweetened sour cream and cinnamon. While the dessert is available until Nov. 29, pick up or pre-order by Nov. 24 at 5 p.m. if you want it in time for Thanksgiving day. Walk-up orders are not available on Nov. 25 and the storefronts will be closed on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27. One Paseo: 3705 Caminito Court, Suite 0500, Del Mar; La Costa Town Square: 7610 Via Campanile, Suite 144, Carlsbad;

Pumpkin Cheesecake from SusieCakes
(Courtesy photo)

Pucker up at Valentina Restaurant, the European-inspired bistro and wine bar in Leucadia. Its Apple Tart features a homemade vanilla pastry cream (with a hint of rum) that is placed on a puff pastry, topped with sliced Julian apples, then paired with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with salted caramel sauce. Available for $10 during dinner service Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. 810 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas;

Apple Tart from Valentina
(Sophia Kicko)

Cheers (social distance-style) to the season with an Apple Pie Mimosa. Available at Fig Tree Cafe, brut bubbles are paired with cinnamon and vanilla syrup in a glass decorated with a cinnamon sugar rim and apple pie filling garnish. The $7 drink is on the menu through Nov. 30. 5199 Cass St., Pacific Beach; 2440 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 103, Liberty Station;

Apple Pie Mimosa from Fig Tree Cafe
(Courtesy photo)

For a caffeinated option, try Breakfast Republic’s Apple Pie Chai Latte, made with espresso, chai, apple cider and milk. Plus, the $7 specialty latte is topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a crisp, cinnamon sugar-dusted apple slice. Available through Nov. 30 at all eight San Diego locations: North Park, Liberty Station, Encinitas, East Village, Ocean Beach, Carmel Valley, Pacific Beach and Mission Valley.

Apple Pie Chai Latte from Breakfast Republic
(Courtesy photo)

Staying in?

If you’ve taken up baking during the pandemic, a San Diego chef, dispensary and dessert shop have a few ideas for you to try while stuck in quarantine.

1. Sweet Potato Pie filling
Chef DuVal Warner, who heads the kitchen of Ranch 45 in Solana Beach, has shared his mother’s recipe for Sweet Potato Pie — which features an unlikely ingredient: tomato soup.


  • Two large sweet potatoes
  • One can of Campbell’s tomato soup
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • Two large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • One tablespoon flour
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. To make the filling, place sweet potatoes in a large pot and fill with water just until it covers them.
  2. Bring to a boil and boil for 45 to 50 minutes or until they are soft to touch with a fork.
  3. When done, let cool and then remove the skin. It should peel off very easily.
  4. Place peeled sweet potatoes in a bowl and break it up with a fork or whisk.
  5. Use a mixer to mix the sweet potatoes until smooth and creamy.
  6. Add one can of tomato soup to your smooth and creamy sweet potato mixer.
  7. Add in butter and mix to combine.
  8. Add in sugars, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla and flour. Beat until mixture is smooth.
  9. Pour into two prepared pie crusts and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool on the counter for about 30 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator overnight to fully set or at least three hours.
Ranch 45's Chef DuVal Warner offers his mother's Sweet Potato Pie recipe this season.
(Courtesy photo)

2. Cannabutter

San Diego dispensary March and Ash invites curious folks to try their hands at cannabutter this holiday. Once you make a batch, simply add it to a filling of your choosing — turning any pie into a trip.


  1. Preheat the oven to 245°F.
  2. Place 10 grams of flower on a parchment-lined oven tray.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes.
  4. Rake the flower after 15 minutes to ensure even heating.
  5. Coarsely grind baked bud into a slow cooker set to low (under 200°F).
  6. Add one cup of unsalted butter, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes.
  7. Cook for three hours on low.
  8. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and strain into jay or container using cheesecloth and funnel.
  9. Refrigerate until ready to use in your chosen recipe.

*Note: The exact potency of DIY cannabutter varies. Test the final product by spreading 1/4 teaspoon on some toast, then wait two to three hours to see how that batch affects you. Use that as a dosage barometer, and increase or decrease the amount used in each recipe as desired.

(Courtesy of March and Ash)

3. Gluten-free pie crust

Timid about making your own pie, but still want in on the fun? The Gluten Free Baking Co. in North Park offers a $12 vegan pie crust dry mix for the novice baker — simply add shortening and water! The mix makes two crusts that are free of gluten, soy or dairy that are perfect for guests with dietary restrictions. 4594 30th St., North Park;

Owner/chef Roanna Canete bakes inside her kitchen at The Gluten Free Baking Company in North Park
(Lindsay Kreighbaum)