Holiday Pies

November 16, 2021

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means one thing in my world…pie! Most people get really excited about the Thanksgiving meal as a whole but honestly, I’m only here for the pie. Growing up the dessert table would be FULL of different pies to try and I would be eating leftover pie for days! Best breakfast ever, well other than leftover birthday cake. Here are some of my favorite pies that are sure to be the stars of your dessert table this holiday season.

Note: I know many times when I am sharing a pie or tart recipe I mention store bought crust. There is nothing wrong with this! Sometimes the whole pie process takes time and if you’re making 2-3 different pies, well no one has time for that! When I do have the time to make my own pâte sucrée I use Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you don’t have her book you can find the recipe on this super cute blog.

First up for a festive fall favorite is pumpkin pie. Is it even Thanksgiving if you don’t have this pie on your table? My husband would say yes, he’s not a fan but I really like pumpkin pie so more for me!

Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: 8
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  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 12oz can  Evaporated Milk
  • 1 pie crust, homemade or store bought there’s no judgment here!


  1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  2. Place your pie crust in your favorite pie dish, the deeper the better! Fork the dough a few times or like 10 times and fill with pie weights. Blind bake your crust for 10 minutes.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add in the brown sugar, white sugar, salt, and spices. Mix in the pumpkin purée. Stir in the Evaporated Milk. Beat together until everything is well mixed.
  4. Pour the filling into your par cooked shell. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes more.(keep the pie in the oven while the temperature changes, that time counts)
  5. The pie is done when a knife tip inserted in the center comes out wet but relatively clean. The center should be just barely jiggly.(About half-way through the baking, you may want to put foil around the edges or use a pie protector to keep the crust from getting too browned.)
  6. Cool the pumpkin pie on a wire rack for about 2 hours.

Note: the pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up (from the leavening of the eggs), and will deflate as it cools.

Best served at room temperature with whipped cream.

I think everyone has their favorite apple pie recipe. It’s such an Autunm staple, especially in New England where I live. This recipe combines both tart and sweet apples for the yummiest, flavor poppin’ pie! Inspired by Food and Wine Magazine. You can find their original recipe here.

Apple Pie

  • Servings: 8
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  • 3 pounds apples, such as Macintosh, Honey Crisp, Cortland or Granny Smith—peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 tablespoon zest
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  • 2 pie crusts


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add the lemon juice and toss well. Let stand for 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves slightly.
  3. Over medium heat, sauté the apple mixture with 1 tablespoon of butter, for about 10 minutes. You want some of the liquid to disappear and for the “sauce” to get slightly thicker.
  4. Scrape the apples and any juices into the pie plate and dot with remaining butter. Cover with the top crust and gently press the edges together. Fold the dough rim under itself and crimp decoratively. Brush the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Cut 3 small gashes in the top of the pie to vent the steam.
  5. Bake the pie on the lowest shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 365° and bake the pie for 45 to 50 minutes longer, until the fruit juices are bubbling through the steam vents and the crust is deeply golden on the top and bottom; cover the pie loosely with foil halfway through baking to keep it from getting too dark.
  6. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Note: If you are ever worried about a soggy bottom crust, place a pizza stone under your pie dish.

I love cranberries, I eat them strait from the bag ( I know it’s weird, don’t yuck my yum) and this cranberry curd tart from NY Times is so good. If you enjoy a citrus tart you’ll like this, it has the perfect balance of tart and sweet. The original recipe can be found here, I’ve made a couple of changes so the recipe below is a little different but inspired by the NY Times one. The Times recipe also uses a hazelnut crust which is delicious, if you have the time I suggest making it.

Cranberry Curd Tart

  • Servings: 8
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  • 12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 orange, juiced (about 1/2 cup) and zested
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 1 pie crust


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place pie dough in you in your tart or pie pan. Fork the dough a few times and fill with pie weights. Blind bake your crust for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the cranberries, zest and orange juice in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until the cranberries split. Strain through a food mill or fine mesh sieve and discard the skins. 
  4. Return the strained cranberry mixture to the saucepan and add the sugar, butter, vanilla, and orange liqueur (if using) to the pan and give everything a good stir.
  5. Put eggs and egg yolks into a bowl and beat lightly. Slowly whisk a cup of warm cranberry liquid into the eggs to temper, then add to your saucepan.
  6. Heat gently over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (this usually takes about 10 minutes). Immediately strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and then pour into the prepared crust. Bake at 350F until the curd is set (it should jiggle but not slosh), about 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool at room temperature for about 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Serve chilled or at room temperature with a little whipped cream.

Tips: To add some flair to your tart you can add some sugared cranberries to the top. Place a few in a bowl and toss in sugar.

There’s something about minced pies that just scream holidays to me, especially Christmas. I love the warm spices, the plumped up dried fruits and the tangy sweetness that comes from that laundry list of ingredients. I haven’t found many who share my enthusiasm for this pie so I usually make mini pies and bring extras in to work. This recipe, adapted from Sprinkle Bakes, contains no meat and makes 1 regular size pie, 5 mini pies or 12-15 muffin tin pies.

Mince Pies

  • Servings: 8
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  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples grated
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried dates
  • 3/4 cup mixed candied citrus
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied cherries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup rum, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup brandy, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 pie crusts
  • 1 egg for an egg wash


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large Dutch oven ( except for 2 tablespoons rum and 2 tablespoons brandy). Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Simmer the “mincemeat” stirring often for about 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 minutes check the liquid level by running a spoon through the center of your mixture. If your line doesn’t refill quickly, that means most of the liquid has evaporated and you’re good to go.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of rum and brandy. Let the mincemeat cool completely and then transfer to a covered container and place in the refrigerator. Let it stand overnight to allow flavors to deepen.
  4. The Next Day: Preheat the oven to 400F.
  5. Place your pie dough in the pie dough in your desired tin (pie dish, mini pie pan or muffin tin). Fill each pie with mincemeat. Cover with the top crust and gently press the edges together. Fold the dough rim under itself and crimp decoratively. Brush the pie with the beaten egg. Cut small gashes in the top of the pie to vent the steam. Tip: You can get fancy and make a lattice top or use a cookie cutter to make some vents. Make this pie your own!
  6. Baking Times vary by dish- traditional pie 30 mins @ 400F, lower temperature to 350F and bake 30 minutes more. Mini pies/Muffin Tin- 15-20 minutes @ 400F.

I’ve also shared some pie and tart recipes throughout this blog, they are some of my favorite desserts. Click the links to find recipes for my Chocolate Pie, Lemon Tart and Apple Tart. What’s on your dessert table? I’d love to know.

Happy Baking!

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