Three Pies to Spice Up Your Thanksgiving

Pecan pieProduced by Brett Levine
Food Styling by Lily Plauché
Photography by Becky Stayner

Few things signal fall like sweet slices of seasonal pies. These three pies deliver for every baker from the classic to the creative. For those who love the pleasure of simplicity, what could be better than an apple pie, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves? Here, the twist is that the sweetness of the apples—Honeycrisps or Pink Ladies—is matched with the piquant tartness of Granny Smiths. Consider this the secret ingredient in “grandma’s apple pie”!

Everybody loves sweet potatoes on the table at Thanksgiving, but what would happen if you saved them for dessert? Bake this brown butter sweet potato pie and see! Topped with a crunchy brittle, everyone will love it so much that those pumpkins will be looking for something else to do around your holiday table.

But if you truly want to savor something deliciously decadent, delight in the chocolate pecan pie. Melted bittersweet chocolate combines with the flavor and aroma of pecans baking in the oven to create a rich, rewarding dessert. Whatever way you slice the season, pies are the perfect complement to your autumn.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Serves Eight

1 disk homemade pie dough or 1 refrigerated pie crust
1 ½ cups pecan halves
1 cup dark corn syrup
½ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold edge under and crimp. Chop 1 cup pecan halves.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, and flour until combined. Stir in melted chocolate and chopped pecans. Pour into pie shell. Top with remaining ½ cup pecan halves. Place on rack in middle of oven and bake 50 minutes or until center is slightly puffed (center will not be set). Cool at least two hours before slicing.

Apple pieApple Pie

Serves Eight

2 disks homemade pie dough or 2 refrigerated pie crusts
1 ½ lb. Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples, peeled, sliced
1 ½ lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, sliced
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Roll out 1 dough disk into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface; place into 9-inch pie plate. Roll out remaining dough disk into a 12-inch circle; cut with pizza cutter or knife into 12 wedges.

2. Combine apple slices, ¾ cup sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and 2 tablespoons flour in a medium bowl, tossing well. Spoon apples into pie plate. Cover apples with triangles of pie dough, overlapping slightly. Pinch together edges of dough, fold under, and crimp. Brush dough with beaten egg; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350F and bake 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack at least two hours before slicing.

Sweet potato pieBrown Butter Sweet Potato Pie

Serves 8

½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 disk homemade pie dough or 1 refrigerated pie crust
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ cup milk

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is lightly browned, has a nutty aroma, and sizzling sound stops. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

2. Preheat oven to 350◦F. Roll out pie dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold edge under and crimp.

3. In a large bowl, combine mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and browned butter. Stir in milk. Pour into pie plate. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool at least 2 hours before slicing.

To make quick brittle: Line jelly roll pan with parchment or wax paper. Spray paper with cooking spray. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped, toasted nuts onto paper. In a small saucepan, melt 1 cup sugar over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally (do not stir). Continue cooking until sugar turns a light amber color. Drizzle hot sugar over nuts. Let stand until cool. Break into pieces.

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