5 Tips for Making an Amazing Thanksgiving Pie

Every year, I make the pies for Thanksgiving dinner; they are a way I can contribute and show how thankful I am for my family. Although Thanksgiving will be quite different this year, there are still activities we can all enjoy while socially distanced, such as baking. Over years of trial and error and some great successes, I have learned some tips and tricks that make the pie-making experience easier and more successful. 

  1. 1. Buy local

    bowl of red round fruits in background of red round fruits

    The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it has hit small businesses particularly hard. During the holiday season, it is even more important than ever to support small and local businesses. My favorite place to buy fruits and vegetables in my hometown where I am currently staying is a local farm’s open-air market. The food is always fresh and much better quality than what I would get at the supermarket. If you prefer to stay home due to rising COVID-19 cases, many local farms are offering delivery options and weekly subscription packages. Buying from local businesses for your Thanksgiving dinner and dessert is a win-win — you help support local businesses who are suffering, and you receive top-notch ingredients that make for an excellent pie.

  2. 2. Use premade dough from the store

    Pumpkin Pie Top Down Braided Crust

    One of the most intensive stages of making a pie is preparing the crust. This tip may be controversial for baking purists, but I truly stand behind it. Yes you can prepare the pie crust from scratch, but this can be time consuming and difficult for beginners who are trying to achieve the right texture. The payoff of making a crust from scratch is usually not enough to justify the effort. Thanksgiving meal preparations can be time-consuming and chaotic in general, so saving time can be a lifesaver. I recommend the Pillsbury pie dough, which you can find with their other products at most grocery stores. It is easy to work with and great for pie-making beginners.

  3. 3. Use Yellow Delicious Apples for apple pie

    The key to achieving a delicious apple pie is choosing the right apples. It may seem like any apple will work, but some apples work better for different purposes. It is essential to choose a baking apple when shopping for apples for your pie. My favorite apple to use is Yellow Delicious. It is sweet, has a nice flavor profile, and is not as polarizing as the tangy Granny Apple. It also cooks well and its juices reduce well to make a great caramel-y filling. Yellow Delicious Apples are usually also in season around Thanksgiving and are widely available at stores. 

  4. 4. Make a fun design with the top crust

    Apple Pie Crust Close

    This tip is not applicable for pies without a top crust like pumpkin pie, but for pies like apple pie, using the top crust to create a design can add a special touch to your pie and is usually not that difficult. My favorite top crust to make is a traditional lattice design. To make this design, follow these easy steps. Cut the layer of top crust dough into even strips. Then, attach half the strips horizontally on one side of the pan, spacing them apart with even gaps in between. After, attach the other half of the strips vertically on one side of the pan. Once they're attached, weave the strips together and attach on all sides of the pan. Press a fork on the edges to seal the crust. You can also find other creative crust designs on the internet, such as flowers or autumn leaves.

  5. 5. Create a delicious crust finish with an egg wash and sugar

    Peach Pie

    The best way to finish off your pie is to use a sugar and egg wash finish. This is really easy to do and ensures the crust will bake nicely with a crispy and golden finish. First, whisk an egg and brush it across the top of your pie or, if it is a pie without a top crust, brush it along the edges of the crust. Then, take some granulated sugar and sprinkle it over the top. The finish is also aesthetically pleasing, creating a glossy look to the pie that makes your work seem professional.