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An apple pie a day keeps Prozac away

Most of us probably aren't classified as nervous eaters. Until now, that is. As the number of things to worry about increases on a daily basis, it's only natural to flee toward the comforts of comfort food.

Consider embedding yourself, for instance, in a good old-fashioned pie.

All manner of nervous ticks can be temporarily alleviated with a slice of pie. The ShortOrder desk put three apple pies from local bakeries to the taste test. The five judges were adamant about one thing only: All three samples tasted better served a la mode.

Helen Bernhard Bakery

This charming bakery has been 'baking dreams come true' at its Northeast Broadway storefront since 1924. Apple pies ($8.25) are in stock on most days, along with layer cakes, petits fours, cupcakes and doughnuts. Glorious! Bernhard's old-fashioned apple pie has a lattice-style crust with sugar on top, and is boxed to go in a spanking white cardboard with Helen's cursive signature printed on top. This pie scores points for its generous use of cinnamon, but some found its crust a tad 'cakey.' One judge pronounced this his favorite.

1717 N.E. Broadway, 503-287-1251

Whole Foods Market

The upscale market from California sells a hearty, 9-inch pie for $10.99. This is a double-crusted affair fit for a queen with a star shape cut out on the top crust. It won't fit in a bag Ñ paper or plastic Ñ so march your cherub cheeks proudly past the skinny people dipping into the vegan soup at the bar. The butterballs know who's enjoying life.

The first ingredient listed is Granny Smith apples from Washington. The crust is made with unbleached wheat flour, which gives it a complex texture, and the filling, unlike some pies, is not ambushed by sugar. Four of our five judges picked this pie as their favorite because, quite simply, they 'liked the apples.'

1210 N.W. Couch St., 503-525-4343

Safeway

Bust out the Club Card because Safeway's bakery sells a Dutch-style, deep-dish apple pie with crumbly brown sugar on top for the low, low price of $4.49. The first ingredient (in a lo-ong list) is enriched unbleached wheat flour, followed by partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

Despite the browned-in-the-oven look, Safeway's apple pie has a texture and filling a bit like the Hostess Fruit Pies you ate when you were a kid. For the segment of the population blissfully under age 10, this is high praise.