Don’t get lost in pie-making lingo, like lattice crust, single crusts, par-baked shells, and the like. Instead, check out our simple pie-making guide that will prepare you for success as you choose which of these 25 Thanksgiving pie recipes you want to bake this year.
Figure out the kind of crust you want for your pie. Simple, flaky butter crusts are ideal for apple, pumpkin, and other fruit pies. When making flaky crusts, be careful not to overwork the dough or your crust will turn out tough.
McDermott’s Art of Pie is a one-stop shop for everything pie. When we talked to McDermott about the daunting task of baking these versatile desserts, she reassured us that pie making should be fun. And for first timers, McDermott explained, “If your pie doesn't turn out the way you like, turn it [out] into a lasagna pan and call it a crisp or a crumble!”
Gentl & Hyers
To keep your pie crust from puffing up in the oven, you will need pie weights, which you can buy at kitchen supply or baking stores. Alternatively, you can used dried beans — or line your crust with parchment paper and weigh it down with another pie pan, as long as it doesn’t press into the dough too much.
If you choose to opt for a no-bake crust like this recipe for a nut crust, you will need a binding agent like butter or coconut oil, which are solid at room temperature, but be careful not to place the pie near a hot stove, or the room temperature-stable fats will melt..
Pies, especially fruit pies, freeze beautifully. McDermott says, “Make and freeze dough ahead of time. Full fruit pies can be frozen uncooked and then baked. No need to defrost, but you may need to add extra some baking time at the end.”
For a braided crust, take a long strip about a half-inch wide and slice it into three equal ribbons. Then braid them as you would hair. Lightly score the crust where you are ready to attach the braid and brush with an egg wash so that it will stick.
To make a classic lattice design, you can cheat by not interlacing the evenly cut strips. Instead, lay them on top of each other to simplify the process. If you want a true lattice crust, lay out all of the pieces in one direction and then start weaving, one strip at a time perpendicularly.
Finally, don’t waste the scraps; you can use these for a special pie-making treat. “Save the scraps, re-roll, sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, cut into small one inch pieces, and bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes,” McDermott suggests.
To get started on your Thanksgiving pie menu look no further than these 25 pies that we selected based on taste, appearance, and popularity to ensure that your dessert table is well stocked this holiday season.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.