Pie is by far my favorite dessert, but it's, in my opinion, one of the most difficult to get right. Your crust needs to be light and tender, and as tasty as your filling, and your filling needs to balanced and set. There are so many components that fall into making a good pie, often times people are extremely intimidated by them.
For my Thanksgiving feast, I made five pies (the sweet potato one was eaten before I could even take a picture...thanks Dad) and compiled four of them here to show you that you, yes, you, can make them all. I did them in less than a day – they seriously are that easy! They're also very customizable, and unlike cakes, there's less of a science to them.
See all of the various pies that blessed my Thanksgiving table this year, and give the recipes a try yourself, beginning with my Bourbon Cherry Pie. My inspiration for this pie came heavily from Bon Appétit.
Each pie dough (with the exception of the Cranberry Lime Curd pie) is King Arthur Flour's All-Butter Pie Crust recipe, a light and buttery crust that is very obviously one of my favorites. And just to be a tease, here's a picture of my mother's top secret Pumpkin Pie, which is by far the best pumpkin pie recipe. Sorry, not sharing.
Bourbon Cherry Pie
For the cherries...
- 3 lbs. cherries (I used frozen)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1 cup bourbon
For the crumble...
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 stick of butter, cubed and chilled
For the filling...
- 1/4 of the syrup from the cherries
- All of the cherries
- Zest from 1/4 of an orange
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
In a large bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, salt, spices, and a 1/2 cup of bourbon, mixing with a wooden spoon to coat all of the cherries. Place a large strainer over a saucepan and dump the mixture into the strainer, allowing all of the liquid to drain into the pan. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of bourbon over the cherries, using the wooden spoon to stir them in the strainer, like you're rinsing them. Repeat with a 1/2 cup of water. Pour the cherries back into the bowl and place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Allow the liquid to thicken slightly, about 5 to 8 minutes before adding in the cherries. Raise the heat to medium high for another 5 to 8 minutes, and then lower to medium for 10 to 15 until the liquid is like a syrup. It should bubble slightly. Pour about 3/4 of the syrup into a mason jar. Use this for cocktails or frosting, or any other recipe that calls for cherry flavoring, syrup, in frostings...the options are endless! Pour the cherries and remaining syrup into a sealable container and place in the fridge until completely cool, about an hour.
Towards the end of the hour, preheat your oven to 350º and roll out your pie crust and press it into an 8-inch pie plate. Place it in the fridge to chill while you make the crumble.
Combine all of the crumble ingredients in a small bowl, using your hands to break up the butter. Mix until the mixture is incorporated, but the butter is still chilled. Place in the fridge while you make the filling.
Remove the cherries and the crust from the fridge. Add the orange zest, juice, bourbon, and salt to them, stirring well. Pour this mixture into your prepared crust and top with the crumble. Put the whole pie on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil for easy clean up incase the pie bubbles over! Bake for an hour and half, until the cherry juices begin to bubble through the crust. Begin checking the pie after an hour and 15 minutes – if the crumble is browning too quickly, cover with tinfoil for the remaining 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool overnight at room temperature before enjoying – you want it to set completely!
Cranberry Lie Curd Pie
This fabulous recipe comes from Bon Appétit, one of my favorite food publications out there. This recipe is the winterized version of one of my favorite pies, the Key Lime Pie. Pro tip: make your own ginger snap cookies to then crush for the pie crust.
Chocolate Pecan Pie
As so many of my recipes do, this one comes from New York Times Cooking. I love varied texture in my pies, so I hand-crushed about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of toasted pecans and mixed them into the filling before topping it with the whole pecans.
Deep Dish Apple Pie
Every apple pie should be deep dish, and should be baked in a clear pie dish. You can think your pie is done, but if that bottom crust is evenly slightly pale, you're going to have a weak pie crust that will fall apart when you try to cut into it. This super rustic-looking pie came from, as always, NYT Cooking.
These pies are wonderful for all of your holiday celebrations, and can easily be made your own with small flavor changes or additions. Have some fun with it!
My name is Alexandra Jade, but you can call me Alex, or Trin. I am a Food Studies major at New York University, and a freelance photographer, journalist, and social media pro on the side. I run the instagram account @twobrunchgirls.