How to Impress with Thanksgiving Pies

We may not be able to impress our friends and family with a platter of pies stacked up on the dinner table, but you can still awe your followers  with your cooking skills. In the age of Instagram, all you need are some cute and simple decorating tips to make your pies the envy of everyone’s Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s how to make desserts that’ll be the apple of everyone’s eye.

  1. 1. Meringue

    Instead of the traditional crust topping or just a naked filling, try meringue. Meringue is surprisingly easy to make (just be sure to gradually add sugar when whipping) and always brings a major “wow” factor. Simply make your meringue and spoon onto your finished pie in large, sumptuous dollops.

    If you want to bring the decoration up a notch, put the meringue in a piping bag fitted with your favorite piping tip instead of simply spooning it on; I recommend a large open star tip for beginners. You can make florets, shells, or stars. 

    Be sure to finish your meringue with a torch or a quick trip in the oven to toast the top. If you use meringue, you can skip the whipped cream. 

    Meringue brings looks and taste, offering a marshmallow-ey topping for your pies. Your pie will look heavenly crowned in light meringue. 

  2. 2. Get Creative with Your Crimps

    Although all the flavor is in the filling, a carefully finished crust can bring the final touch to an elegant pie. There are countless ways to complete your crust besides the classic crimp (done by pinching dough between your fingers.) 

    One great way to finish a crust is to use a fork to add texture; it’s a simple technique with high pay-off. You can even play with how you indent, pressing the fork at alternating angles to create a simple chevron pattern. 

    If you have a lot of extra dough, don’t waste it! Roll the dough into a sheet and cut with your favorite small cookie cutters (I like leaves and acorns). Then, get to making your masterpiece! Arrange your cut-outs along the edge of your crust, either covering it completely or leaving some space for a more modern look. 

    If you want to go even further, you can paint your embellishments with a mixture of vodka and food coloring after your pie has baked. Don’t worry – the vodka evaporates, leaving a more vibrant finish than water. 

  3. 3. Embellish Everything!

    Always accessorize your pies! The same technique, using cut-outs from dough, can be used to decorate your whole pie. Instead of a top crust, layer dough leaves across your entire pie. Create a whole cottagecore scene on top of your pie. 

    But accessories don’t have to just be made of dough. For example, you can also garnish with candied nuts that look like flowers on your pumpkin pie, but only after it’s fully-cooked. It’s important that your filling is already set, or you may risk your hard work sinking to the bottom of your batter.

  4. 4. Unique Top Crusts

    If you still want a top crust, make it more interesting than a slab of dough with some slits. Cut out shapes for steam vents, or go crazy and make a whole pattern. Polka dot pecan, anyone?

    If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, try your hand at a lattice. To make a lattice top, start in the middle. Place one direction of pie strips all along your pie. Next, begin placing strips in the opposite direction starting, again, with the center strip. To weave it onto the pie, lift the original dough strands back, so that placing your dough on the pie is like tucking it into bed. 

This Thanksgiving, try something new and photo-ready. It doesn’t matter whether everyone sees your pies – but having less people over this year gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment with old classics.