And Then There’s Pie

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Baked Shaker Lemon Pie

Baked Shaker Lemon Pie (Photo credit: librarykitty)

This scene will play out in homes all across the country on Thursday: The turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, and green bean casserole are nothing but a fond memory as overstuffed guests hobble toward the living room to watch the football games or to just stretch out and exclaim things such as, “I can’t take another bite!” “I’m stuffed like a turkey!” and my personal favorite: “I’m so full, I’ll never eat again!”

Give those same guests an hour, and they’ll be ready for the final act: dessert.

Luckily, having a fantastic finale to the Big Day is as easy as, well, pie: Pumpkin, cherry, sweet potato, pecan … and the great thing about pies – they can be made in advance and stored in the fridge, so make some tonight and be ready for when your guests decide they actually can take another bite – as long as it is dessert.

There’s a trick to making great pie crust – cold butter sliced thin and cold water. That’s it. The rest is easy: a couple of cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix the dry ingredients, add the butter, and when the mixture is crumbly, add cold water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture begins to clump. Place it in the refrigerator for an hour or so, then roll it out on a floured surface (be careful not to overwork the dough) and put it in the pie pan.

Now that your crust is done, it’s time to choose a few recipes. From traditional to unusual, there’s a pie to satisfy any appetite.

If you’ve never made a pie before and want something very easy that tastes great, make a Chess Pie. Take three eggs, put them in the mixer, and beat them. Add one and a half cups of sugar, a tablespoon of cornmeal, a tablespoon of vinegar, and a dash of vanilla extract. Melt 3/4 stick of butter and add it to the mixture. Pour the mixture into your pie shell and bake at 400 degrees F for about half an hour, until a knife in the center comes out clean. Easy – and it tastes great.

Chess Pie is a Southern classic. If you want to make pies from other regions, here’s a great list of pies to choose from. The stories behind the pies are fascinating, and you may just start a new family tradition when you set a Shoofly Pie or Mississippi Mud Pie on the table.

Thanksgiving classics include the stunning pecan (it is easier to make than you may think!), sweet potato, and of course, pumpkin pie. Strawberry-rhubarb and cherry pie are also all-American hits.

If you are looking for a challenge, try making one of these terrific pie recipes. I’m considering making the Salted Caramel-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie. This one is a guaranteed show-stopper.

There’s a reason we all want a piece of the pie – it’s delicious! What’s your favorite  – the one you must have on your Thanksgiving table? Share it with us on Facebook, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!