Top Four Thanksgiving Pies

Top Four Thanksgiving Pies

Pie is integral to Thanksgiving. Here’s why these four pies are undoubtedly the best.

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of family and friends gathering to enjoy a meal and celebrating their love for one another. Everyone knows that the period from September (some would even argue the end of August) to mid-November is pumpkin spice/chai/apple season, fuzzy blanket season, and spooky movie season. In my mind, fall is synonymous with coziness and family. When you imagine being cozy, what foods do you imagine? I imagine warm desserts, but that might just be me. Baking has been a passion of mine ever since the third grade. Since I love baking and fall, I thought it was fitting to write an article about the best four Thanksgiving pies so you guys don’t have to do your research!  

I asked one of The Echo’s very own journalists, Luke Dotoli, what memories Thanksgiving brought him. “My nana’s really good pumpkin pie, and how she always used to let me put the whipped cream on the top,” Luke said. I, too, have countless memories of spending a good deal of hours in the kitchen with my father with ten pots on the stove and 18 bowls lying around. It is chaotic, but in the best way. 

Okay, enough chatter. Let’s get down to business. Arguably the most iconic Thanksgiving pie is your classic apple pie. After thorough research, I decided that Dorie Greenspan’s All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie, is the superior apple pie. It has the perfect amount of lemon, providing a tart contrast to the sweetness provided by the brown sugar. One common issue with apple pie is the structure. Since apples release a lot of moisture when they are baked, the crust often becomes soggy. Dorie found a genius way to avoid this: she places ½ cup of unseasoned bread crumbs on the crust before adding the apples. While this may be unconventional, it’s a textural game-changer. She instructs you to slice the apples into ¼ inch thick slices (this is thicker than normal), which allows the outside of the apple to be fully saturated with the cinnamon mixture, while simultaneously allowing the middle to keep its appley taste and texture.

As I said before, Thanksgiving, to me, is about being with your family, so I thought it reasonable to include a family recipe. This not only happens to be the easiest and the least expensive, it is also, in my opinion, the most delicious. The pie in question is a chocolate pudding pie, and the recipe will be shown below. This pie consists of a crumbly pie crust (store bought) and a silky chocolate pudding (made in the microwave).  It is decadent and sweet; the crumbly crust juxtaposed with the soft pudding creates a mouthwatering morsel.

What are more Thanksgiving desserts? Oh, pumpkin pie! And we can’t forget about pecan pie! But what if you combined the two? My favorite baker, Dorie Greenspan, did just that.  She took a classic pumpkin pie and a classic pecan pie and swirled them together to create the perfect Thanksgiving pie. She wittily labeled it, Thanksgiving Twofer Pie. Most people are very opinionated regarding pumpkin pie: either they love it or they hate it. One Echo journalist, Astrid Clayton, said, “I never expected pumpkin to taste good, but it actually did!” I’m not usually a fan of nuts, including pecans, however, I too am a fan of this particular pie. This, unlike the chocolate pie, is much more of a time commitment, as it requires you to make and pre-bake your own crust, make two separate fillings, chill everything, and then proceed to bake it the next day. One important tip with the baking process is that the pie can very easily burn around the sides since there is a high sugar content in the pecan topping. One way to prevent the pie from blackening is by folding tin foil around the rim to make a hat for the crust.

Not so much of a Thanksgiving classic, but a classic all the same, is lemon curd pie.  The Thanksgiving meal is chock full of dense, heavy dishes, like mashed potatoes, turkey, yams, etc. After all of that, all you want is something fresh and light. This pie is the perfect solution. Another Dorie Greespan classic, titled The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart, is a slightly time-consuming dessert that feels like you’re eating a cloud.  It has a texture akin to the chocolate pudding pie, this however is airy and light as opposed to the thicker chocolate alternative. Unfortunately, this is an easy pie to mess up, and requires more technique than the others. Since you are working with a curd, it requires constant attention when cooking. When making a curd, you place your ingredients in a double boiler. You then constantly whisk the curd until the whisk leaves tracks, or it reaches a certain temperature. One tip that the recipe doesn’t specifically mention is to make sure that the thermometer is placed in the center of the bowl, rather than the side, as the curd closer to the sides will heat faster. This pie is not a Thanksgiving classic yet, but once you try it, I’m sure it will become a part of your yearly Thanksgiving menu. 

These four very different, but nonetheless delicious pies assemble my dream Thanksgiving dessert menu. Although these all work well on their own, if you are thinking of making more than one dessert, my favorite combinations are as follows: apple and chocolate, pecan and lemon, and chocolate and lemon. These four pies are my Thanksgiving go-tos, and I hope this helped provide you with some inspiration to create your dream Thanksgiving menu!

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