Thanksgiving is around the corner and the celebration isn’t complete without pies.  Sure, some work and time must be invested to make a homemade pie but with my all-butter pie dough you’ll be able to create serious crowd-pleasers, it will be hard to pick a favorite.  I recommend using a metal or disposable pie tins even ceramic pie plates over pyrex dishes as the extreme temperatures can sometimes cause an issue with the glass breaking in the oven. 

All Butter Pie Dough (yields 1 9-inch double crust pie)

  • 425 grams All Purpose Flour
  • 6 grams salt
  • 28 grams granulated sugar
  • 338 grams butter, cut to ¾ inch cubes, keep cold
  • 90 grams water, ice cold
  • 15 grams vinegar
Thanksgiving Pies

In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and sugar to aerate.  Add cold butter all at once and pulse until butter is ¼ inch or “pea-sized.”

Combine ice water and vinegar together then add ¾ of liquid to the flour butter mixture and pulse until shaggy but holds together when pressed between two fingers.  If needed, add remaining liquid one tablespoon at a time. Do not overmix.  

Turn dough in a lightly floured surface, divide into two and gently shape or squeeze together about 3-4 times.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 45 mins to an hour, or up to overnight before using. 

To roll, dust surface and roll making sure that you change the direction of the rolling pin to create a circular dough. Keep the dough moving and add small amounts of flour as you roll if it starts sticking. If it’s too hard to handle, your room might be too hot, and may need to refrigerate again for a couple of minutes before you can continue. 

Note: to inhibit gluten development, keep all ingredients and mixing elements as cold as possible.  The exact amount of hydration needed can vary depending upon the humidity in the air and the type/brand of flour used.  This dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.  Always freeze unbaked pie shell before adding the pie filling to harden the fat and keep it from getting soggy as you bake.

Pecan Pie

Browned butter, maple syrup and brown sugar makes a well-rounded and complex sweetness for a wonderful pecan pie that is ooey-gooey. A dash of brandy brightens the nutty toasted pecans.  You can experiment using the same base and replace with same amount of nuts such as walnuts or brazil nuts or even pili or cashews for that local flare.  Make this a day or two ahead or freeze for longer shelf life.  Thaw in the fridge overnight before bringing to room temp or perhaps heat in a 275F for 10 mins before serving but I doubt you’ll get that far.  

  • 2 cups whole pecan, unsalted, raw, shelled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, optional

Preheat oven to 350F and position rack in lower notch closest to the heating element.

In a skillet, cook butter and vanilla bean pod over medium low heat until slightly browned.  Add maple syrup and cook for a couple more minutes.  Remove vanilla pod and set aside to cool to room temp.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cooled browned butter, corn syrup, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt until smooth. 

Layer a frozen pie shell with pecans and pour over custard filling.

Bake pies at 350F for 30 minutes then loosely tent the edges with an aluminum foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes until set.  The pie should be wiggly in the center but not sloshy.

Remove from the oven and leave on the counter to cool completely and finish setting. The souffled top will settle as it cools.

Pumpkin Pie

This pie is our kids’ most requested pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is one of those pies you can easily make a day or two ahead or you can prepare the crust and the filling then refrigerate separately until ready to bake.  I find using canned pumpkin is the easiest but you can make your own puree by roasting diced sugar pumpkins in the oven until soft then run in a food processor until smooth.  

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large yolk
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 ½ tsp pumpkin spice mix
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)

Preheat oven to 425F, position rack in the bottom 1/3 of oven 

Whisk sugar, salt and pumpkin spice together, add eggs and pumpkin puree and mix until smooth.  Add milk and stir well.  The mixture will be runny but will set up in the oven.

Fill frozen pie shell and bake at 425F for 15 minutes.

Lower temperature to 350F until done.  The center should be barely jiggly.  About 50-60 minutes. The pie will come out of the oven slightly souffled but will settle as it cools.  Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving.  

To freeze, cool completely in room temperature then wrap in few layers of plastic wrap then with aluminum foil.  To defrost, thaw slowly in the fridge until completely defrosted.  Can last 4-6 weeks in the freezer if tightly wrapped.

I love serving this with whipped cream lightly sweetened with maple which I make by adding a tablespoon of maple syrup per cup of heavy whipping cream and whip to soft peak.

Apple Hand Pies

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 large apples (you can pick whatever you like)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Prepared pie dough
  • 1 egg + 2 tsp milk for egg wash
  • 1 used vanilla bean pod (optional)
  • Granulated sugar or sanding sugar for topping (optional)

Peel, core and cut apples into small chunks then toss with the sugars, salt and cinnamon.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat and saute apple mixture until softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add water if needed and keep cooking until sticky. Spread onto a plate or tray to cool down.

Preheat oven to 400F line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone mat.

Form a ball with pie dough and roll into 8 inch diameter.  Spoon filling into the center. Brush egg wash to seal the edges.  Fold in half and press dough around the filling using your fingertips.  You may crimp the edges either by rolling and pinching the edges with overlapping small sections, empanada style or with a fork.  

Lightly eggwash the surface then cut 3 small vent slit the top for steam release while baking.  Sprinkle sugar for extra texture. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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