Three years ago, my mom called me at some point in October to discuss Thanksgiving dessert.
“I’m thinking…pie,” she said.
At first, I thought, Well, duh. It’s Thanksgiving. Of course you’re thinking pie. But then I realized she meant only pie for dessert. No trifles. No cheesecakes. Just pie. Which, when your Thanksgiving celebration has ballooned to more than 30 people, means you need a heck of a lot of pie.
“We’ll need at least six,” she said. “Probably more like seven. Maybe eight.”
And so Piesanity, as our family has come to call it, was born. Every year, a squadron of pies lines my mom’s kitchen island from end to end, a rotating medley of fruity, creamy, crumbly, and nutty. The hardest part is deciding what to try. One big piece of sweet potato meringue? Or a sliver each of the chocolate cream and pecan?
If you want to put together a pie extravaganza of your own, make at least one pie from each of these categories, and you’ll be on your way to Piesanity. And whatever you do, don’t forget the whipped cream!
No matter what anyone says, it isn’t Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Pecan is another holiday classic. Whether you go the traditional route or bake a version laced with chocolate and bourbon, pecan is a must.
I’m a sucker for a good banana cream pie, but if that’s not your thing, whip up chocolate cream, a coconut cream, a butterscotch, or this killer salted caramel pie. There’s also key lime and lemon meringue, if your assortment needs a citrusy kick.
A good apple pie — whether it’s a double crust or one with a crumb topping — will always go over well. For something different, try a pear or persimmon pie. Thanks to the availability of frozen fruit, you can even make blueberry or cherry.
Many people believe it if isn’t chocolate, it isn’t dessert. To satisfy the chocolate lovers in your family, try a chocolate cream pie or something over-the-top, like chocolate-peanut butter or s’mores pie. If you already have the creamy bases covered, chocolate and nuts are a perfect match. Chocolate-hazelnut pie, anyone?
Nothing says autumn like sweet potatoes, squash, and cranberries. Try a sweet potato meringue pie or maybe a nut pie studded with cranberries. You can always throw in a dried fruit pie — like a mincemeat pie — if you’re looking for something a little different.
Dana Bate is the author of The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs, which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and the upcoming novel A Second Bite at the Apple.