From a boozy pumpkin tart to a show-stopping sweet corn pie straight from Yelapa, here are the pies guaranteed to end the big meal on a high note (and upstage the turkey).
Chris Kimball’s single-crust pie dough is the culmination of a decades-long search for a crust that bakes up light and flaky every time. It’s easy to mix, rolls out like a dream, handles and transfers well, and won’t slump in the pan when blind baked, making it the perfect recipe for beginners and seasoned bakers alike.
It’s only a minor overstatement to say that the perfect apple pie is a holy pursuit for Chris Kimball.
This recipe is the product of decades of study. The pie is truly doubled, right down to the filling. The top and bottom crusts are easy to mix and roll out, and bake up tender and flaky. On the inside, Chris swears by a combination of apples: Sweet McIntoshes break down into a thick, luscious applesauce-like filling, while slices of Granny Smiths retain their texture and tart flavor. He rigidly rejects cinnamon, which overpowers the apples’ flavor; instead, he heightens and brightens with a splash of fresh lemon juice.
“I made this for Thanksgiving instead of my usual back-of-the-can pumpkin pie recipe,” a reader writes. “No comparison!”
This pumpkin tart has a decidedly sophisticated edge. We caramelize the filling to intensify the flavors and deglaze the pan with bourbon, then get a little cultured with crème fraîche, which adds more tang and richness than the standard evaporated milk. Learn how to make it with Rosie Gill on Instagram.
I may be from Mississippi, but my loyalties to pecan pie were tested by this walnut tart.
This is the Dordogne region’s famous tarte aux noix, which encases locally-abundant, toasty walnuts in a buttery honeyed caramel. It’s a beautiful balance of sweetness and subtle bitter notes, and superb when finished with flaky sea salt. Watch how it’s made on Instagram.
Corn pie (pay de elote) celebrates the sweet, grassy flavors of corn that pair so beautifully with sugar, eggs, and dairy. This unusual custard pie, developed by food writer Paola Briseño-González, comes from the beaches of Yelapa, Mexico, but it can slide right in alongside the usual Thanksgiving desserts without seeming out of place.
Flint corn may be traditional on the Thanksgiving table, but this pie should be made with sweet corn; it’s not currently in season, but frozen corn kernels work well. Just be sure to fully thaw them before use and pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Watch Chris Kimball and Erika Bruce make it on Milk Street TV.
“Just about the perfect pie” is how Milk Street senior recipe developer Courtney Hill describes this recipe, from Briana Holt of Tandem Coffee + Bakery. Its sweet and rich maple custard filling is balanced by sea salt and tart apple cider vinegar, and contained in a nutty and sturdy whole-wheat crust. It satisfies all of Hill’s pie cravings. For best results, use the darkest maple syrup you can find.
Eggs, cream, and brown sugar are a reliably delicious, crowd-pleasing trio. Slowly pouring the custard over a layer of brown sugar makes for a simple but decadently silky pie that’s anchored by a foundation of deep, robust sweetness. For best results, make sure to avoid clumpy brown sugar, which will never fully incorporate into the mixture.
Like the sweet corn pie, this decadent, cocoa-rich confection comes from the beaches of Yelapa, where home-baked pies are eaten in hand, by the slice. This adaptation of one such pie, from food writer Paola Briseño-González, is just as at home on a holiday dessert table as it is on the beach. It’s the ultimate chocolate fix, with a sandy, cookie-like crust that’s extra portable, making it the perfect portable dessert for snacking on during the ride home.
From the creative minds of Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin, authors of “The New Pie,” this is a lively spin on the diner classic.
A silky-smooth, yet light and fluffy banana cream filling is sandwiched between a salty-sweet peanut butter base and brown sugar meringue topping. It’s all piled into a toasty, nutty peanut butter and graham cracker crust for a little contrast, to keep things sweet, but not cloying.
Get all the richness of chocolate pie with the far easier crostata—think “pie,” but more relaxed, open-faced and free-form. Gianduja, a chocolate-hazelnut paste created in Turin, Italy, inspired the filling, and the nutty whole-wheat flour crust pairs perfectly with the intense chocolate. The crostata is best served the same day, but leftovers can be covered in plastic wrap refrigerated overnight.
If the Fluffernutter did a semester abroad in Paris, she’d return home as this grown-up tart.
While at the boulangerie Le Petit Grain (headed by Edward Delling-Williams), we tasted a riff on the marshmallow fluff sandwich—mini-tarts filled with airy, peanut butter meringue in buttery, cookie-like pastries, topped with caramel-roasted peanuts. We made our version a little bigger, for easy slicing and sharing, then finished it off with a shiny caramel and peanut coating.
As cookbook authors and die-hard bakers, Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin love an opportunity to talk about one of their more unique children: the Cheese Course Pie. The combination of flavors is inspired by the elements of a traditional after-dinner cheese course of fruit, nuts, and cheese.
This unconventional pie includes a jammy fruit filling made with dried figs simmered in ruby port wine, which is lavished with a mildly sweet, blue cheese-infused mascarpone cream and finished with crunchy toasted walnuts. The inclusion of gorgonzola dolce makes many think that this is a savory pie, but don’t fret; it’s definitely a dessert. Just sweet enough, and surprisingly elegant, this pie is the perfect way to punctuate a special meal.
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