When fall rolls around, it’s safe to say many of us look forward to a few key flavour combos: Pumpkin Spice, and Apple Cinnamon. It’s no wonder, then, that some of the most classic pie varieties are still the most popular at Thanksgiving. In celebration of the holiday this weekend, we’re sharing our five favourite Thanksgiving Pies. We’re fond of the classics, and we featured each of the varieties below at our own Friendsgiving feast. While pie may not be the healthiest food around, it’s definitely a splurge that we’re happy to indulge in over Thanksgiving. We’re all about the balance!
We’re particular fans this holiday season of mini pies. They’re the perfect size if you’d like to incorporate several varieties without ending up with lots of left overs. Plus, they’re so cute and perfectly shareable between two or three guests! (Or one very hungry guest!) For our Friendsgiving celebration, we opted to serve one regular sized, gluten-free apple pie. The rest of the pies (8 of them!) were mini pies that we handmade with various flavours in the hopes that at least one of the classics would satisfy everyone.
Before we talk filling, let’s talk about something crucial when it comes to pie: the crust. Pastry comes easily to some, and more difficultly to others. Whether you’re a beginner or more experienced, there are options! Of course, you can choose to buy pastry pre-made, or purchase a pastry mix (as we did for our gluten free pastry), but our favourite pastry is the Tenderflake recipe. Yes, the recipe right on the back of the package. We’ve found that it makes for some of the flakiest pastry, and it’s our go-to.
A few suggestions if following this recipe though. First, we always use the all purpose flour (5.5 cups) rather than the pastry flour (6 cups). It also says to combine 1 egg, 1 tbsp of vinegar and enough water to make a 1 cup mixture, and to only add enough of this mixture to make the dough cling. We strongly suggest adding the full mixture every time. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on the benefits of the egg and vinegar that don’t make it into your pastry. Lastly, if you’re making pies in a 9 inch pie dish rather than the 8 inch foil pans, you’ll find that you’re likely only to get enough for 4-5 single pastry pies, or about 2 double pastry pies versus what the directions would lead you to believe.
Now for the fun stuff – the flavours!
- Apple Pie – an absolute classic, this is one of our tip top favourites and it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. One of the things we love most about apple pie is the versatility. Sure, there’s the classic double crust pie. It can also be done with a crumble topping or served with salted caramel sauce, though. No matter what, the flavours of apple and cinnamon are perfect in fall. Fresh picked apples are really the key to perfect pie. There are so many recipes out there for apple pie, and we’d love to hear which are your favourites! We can’t offer up a link to ours because it happens to be a secret family recipe. (But maybe if you ask really nicely in the comments, we’ll share!)
- Pumpkin Pie – like apple pie, this is another classic that we can’t pass up at Thanksgiving. We’ve tried many pumpkin pie recipes, but this year we used a recipe from Buttered Side Up and it was phenomenal! We’ll be honest and say with all the planning and time we spent on Friendsgiving, we just didn’t have the time to carve up pumpkins for our own puree. We used canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, ever) but this was still an amazing recipe. We can’t wait to try making our own pumpkin puree next year. This recipe uses sweetened condensed milk, which makes it super rich. There are also all the classic pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger to make is so aromatic and flavourful. This one was a hit!
- Blueberry Pie – in the past, we’ve stuck to lemon blueberry pie. This year, hosting our first Friendsgiving, though, we decided that a classic blueberry was just what we needed. Simple and delicious, blueberry pie is one of our favourites because of the amazing flavour of wild blueberries. We used a recipe from She Wears Many Hats and were so impressed with how simple it was. We opted for frozen blueberries because it meant we could buy the ingredients in advance and make the pies when we had time. Just measure out the frozen berries as you would fresh and let them thaw!
- Pecan Pie – pecan pie is a fickle pie. That being said, we still had to take our chances and serve it up! We used a recipe from Gimme Some Oven (although we do also love this German Chocolate Pecan pie recipe from Racheal Ray as well). This recipe was super simple and we were so inspired by the beautiful pecan arrangement on top that we just had to try it out. A suggestion: save the pecan decor for larger pies. We found it was a bit difficult on the mini pie. That said, we did a larger version for a family Thanksgiving and it worked out perfectly. We also just wanted to mention for those on a budget, buying pecans can get quite expensive quite quickly. We spent about $35 on pecans for one large pie and two mini pies. If pecan isn’t your favourite or you’re watching your budget, this may be a pie to purchase pre-made or to avoid.
- Strawberry Pie – last but not least, strawberry pie is one of our favourites. We often opt for strawberry rhubarb because we love the way the tart rhubarb offsets the sweet straweberries. Keeping with our classic theme, though, we stuck to a classic strawberry pie this year. We used a delicious Jessica N Wood recipe that turned out fabulously! Not too runny, not to thick but just perfect. We also used a combination of whole and sliced strawberries for some variety, particularly if the berries were small as we didn’t want them to cook down too much. This pie was a hit and may just replace strawberry rhubarb in our hearts (but probably not).
Once made, did you know that you can freeze pies either before or after baking? This is such a convenience when you’re making several pies or when the oven is in demand on Thanksgiving day. For our pies, we made and baked them all in advance and then froze them. The pies were taken out of the freezer the night before Friendsgiving, and we simply popped them into the oven to warm up when everyone sat down to dinner!
We also served up vegan, gluten-free apple cinnamon donuts so be sure to stay tuned over the holiday weekend to hear all about those!
Please share with us some of your fav pie flavours and recipes, and let us know if you’d like that super secret apple pie recipe!