Seeking the perfect ice cream choice for Thanksgiving pie!

I’m bringing the dessert for Thanksgiving (using this crust advice + the 2012 winning Bucktown Apple Pie filling), so of course I want the à la mode to be extra special. Even so, I stop short at the challenge of homemade ice cream. The holidays are stressful enough, amiright?

There are many well-known ice cream choices available at Jewell (or, if you get it delivered, Schwan’s), but I think it’s worth exploring less familiar and better quality brands to top the pie masterpiece!

Apple Pie A La Mode

Testing my apple pie endurance at Margie’s.

Though they don’t sell ice cream to go, I popped in to Margie’s Candies (1960 N Western Ave) for “inspiration.” I’m that dedicated! Amid the sundaes and platters of mega-desserts, is the daily pie à la mode. Theirs comes plated with mounds of whipped cream and a cherry on top, which isn’t nearly as thoughtful as the up-turned plate that held in the slowly melting vanilla ice cream. I give them points for ice cream and presentation, though I will stick to cones from Margie’s on future visits.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

Enjoy a dynamic duo of Jeni’s Pistachio & Brambleberry Crisp.

I also stopped at Jeni’s (3404 N. Southport Avenue) to sample. I tried several flavors, including Pistachio (my perennial fav), signature flavors like BrambleBerry Crisp and Vanilla Bean, and even Black Coffee in a quest to find the ideal ingredient for “pie soup.” While I enjoyed the rich, creamy mouthfeel of these ice creams, they all tasted too salty to make a proper pairing. My search continued…

Graeter's Ice Creams

It was hard to select from Graeter’s fall flavors.

The fine folks at Graeter’s (available at Whole Foods) approached me with a chance to try their new fall selection, and like a ice cream-crazed fool I said yes without realizing how many flavors that would be. Of course they’re all good. However, I narrowed it down to Salted Caramel and Cinnamon. I think either would pair well with apple pie, though I’m leaning towards Cinnamon. And maybe I’ll bring Pumpkin for a matchy-matchy pairing with traditional pumpkin pie. The rest will await proper pie occasions.

I still have a few days to try frozen delicacies and bake a test pie, though I probably need to reign it in if I don’t want to waddle to Thanksgiving dinner. How are you topping your Thanksgiving dessert? Share!