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Non-traditional pies that are worth it... Thanksgiving

So in my family, Thanksgiving is the one holiday when folks kinda wig out when tradition is messed with. But this year we are going to friends' for the big feast and I'm bringing the pies.
I'll definitely make at least one old-skool pie, but would love to know if there are new, hipster
pies that you think are worth it. Would love to do something fun with cranberry/pecan perhaps?
Do share...

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  1. Not hipster... but I usually bring a key lime tart or lemon meringue pie. Light and refreshing after a heavy meal

    1. Also don't know if these qualify as hipster, but I'm thinking about making the nutmeg maple cream pie from the New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/15/din... and the cranberry almond tart from City Bakery -- the recipe can be found in a few different places online.

      Ina Garten's pecan bars are very good. I love pecans, but am never satisfied by pecan pie. This ends up being a great riff on the idea, and nice because you could just eat a small square (or five). The recipe is up on the food network site, but I didn't go the extra step and dunk them in chocolate. And I'm thinking about an apple galette as well -- again, to keep with the overall idea of Thanksgiving tradition, but in a slightly different form.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kdcs

        I made the maple nutmeg cream pie and it is good--like a maple custard pie. Thanks for the recipe.

      2. I don't know if this really counts as non-traditional, but I love jazzing up apple pies. Lemon and rosemary is very good. I also like to make a haroset-inspired apple pie that includes raisins, walnuts, honey, cinnamon and sweet wine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LolaP

          Raspberry Cream Pie and Chocolate Cream Pie are both good, easy to make. Let me know if you want recipes.

        2. Two years ago (the last time I hosted Thanksgiving) I tried a pear-cranberry pecan-oatmeal streusel pie that was totally yummy. I'm making it again this year along with the traditional pecan and sweet potato pies.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cycloneillini

            Would you be willing to share your sweet potato pie recipe or technique? I had a slice of sweet potato pie a few months ago and can't get it out of my mind. I don't care for pumpkin pie but this sweet potato pie was outta this world!

            1. re: dimsumgirl

              My fave sweet potato pie recipe is from Bill Neal's book, "Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie." I don't have the book handy at the moment, but you might be able to find the recipe online. I'll try to post it later.

          2. Last year we made Pichet Ong's Kabocha Squash Pie, with the walnut-graham cracket-lime crust which is easily findable online. It is made with cream cheese, is quite easy and was an enormous hit. On the menu again this year for sure, a great sub for traditional pumpkin. I also like sweetpotato pie a great deal - if you are a pie baker its worth it to learn this pie, but the Kabocha tart is really the biggest winner we have had in recent years.

            1. I am making a Fudge-Pecan Pie from Epicurious that is great. I am also deciding between an Apple-Cranberry Crumb Pie and a Cranberry-Upside Down Cake. I have made the Apple-Cranberry pie before and its excellent but the idea of the upside down cake is intriguing for some reason.

              I have links to recipes if you want.

              1. OATMEAL-COCONUT PIE:
                1 unbaked 9" pie shell, 350 preheated oven
                3/4 c sugar
                3/4 c old-fashioned or quick oats
                3/4 c light or dark corn syrup
                1/2 cup sweetened coconut
                1 stick butter, melted
                2 large eggs

                Whisk eggs, stir in other ingredients, pour into shell and bake 50-60 minutes, until crust and top are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out oily but clean. Center may still jiggle. Cool completely before slicing. This pie looks like pecan pie, has the same texture, and, oddly, even tastes similar.

                SAWDUST PIE:
                1 pre-baked 9" pie shell
                1 1/2 c sweetened coconut
                1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
                1 1/2 c chopped pecans
                1 1/2 c sugar
                1 c egg whites (6-7)

                Whisk whites lightly, stir in other ingredients, pour into prebaked shell, then bake in preheated 350 oven for 35 minutes.

                SOUR CREAM PEAR PIE:
                1 unbaked 9" pie shell Preheat oven to 375
                5 pears, peeled, cored, diced
                1/2 c golden raisins
                1 tbsp cinnamon
                3/4 c brown sugar
                2 eggs
                1 c sour cream

                Whisk eggs, stir in remaining ingredients, pour into shell and bake for 1 hour.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Pomegranate?? I have been blessed w/ about 15 poms from a friends garden! Please share!!

                  2. Pear-cranberry, with a touch of orange, is a nice change from the apple.

                    Shoofly pie, definitely old-skool. Alton brown's recipe, aside from the crust, it's pretty quick to make:
                    6 ounces all-purpose flour
                    1/2 teaspoon table salt
                    3 ounces unsalted butter, chilled
                    1-ounce lard, chilled
                    4 tablespoons ice water, in spritz bottle
                    Approximately 32 ounces dried beans, blind baking
                    5 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
                    4 ounces dark brown sugar
                    2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
                    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
                    3/4 cup boiling water
                    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
                    8 ounces molasses, by weight
                    1 whole egg, beaten
                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                    For the crust:
                    In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt by pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add butter and pulse 5 to 6 times until texture looks mealy. Add lard and pulse another 3 to 4 times. Remove lid of food processor and spritz surface of mixture thoroughly with water. Replace lid and pulse 5 times. Add more water and pulse again until mixture holds together when squeezed. Place mixture in large resealable bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, and then press into a rounded disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

                    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

                    Place 2 (9-inch) metal pie pans in the refrigerator to chill.

                    Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out in the bag until it reaches the edges of the bag and is 10 to 11-inches round. Cut along 2 sides of the plastic bag, open bag to expose dough on 1 side and turn a 9-inch pie pan upside down on the exposed side. Invert the entire thing and gently pull the remaining side of the plastic bag off the dough. Press the dough into the edges around the pan and trim any excess dough. Press the edges of the dough over the lip of the pan. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

                    Poke holes around sides and into the bottom of the dough. Place a large piece of parchment paper on top of dough and fill with dry beans. Press beans into edges of dough, set on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and beans and continue baking until light golden in color, approximately 7 minutes longer. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely while preparing the filling.

                    Decrease heat of oven to 350 degrees F.

                    For the crumbs:
                    Place the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt into the bowl of a food processor and process until it forms crumbs. Reserve 1/4 cup and set both aside.

                    For the filling:
                    Place the baking soda in a medium mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla; whisk to combine. Add the larger amount of crumbs to the molasses mixture and whisk just to combine. Pour this mixture into the prepared crust. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of crumb mixture evenly over the top of the filling. Place pie on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling puffs, begins to look dry and starts to crack slightly. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack, and cool completely before cutting.

                    This shoofly pie screams for vanilla ice cream.

                    OR: Sweet Potato Cheesecake, which IMO, is slightly hip:
                    •1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
                    •1/4 cup butter, melted
                    •2 lbs sweet potatoes
                    •3 (8-ounce) containers cream cheese, softened
                    •1/4 cup Sugar
                    •1/2 cup sour cream
                    •1/4 cup half-and-half
                    •3 large eggs
                    •1/2 tsp salt
                    •1 tsp vanilla extract
                    •1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                    •1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                    •1/2 tsp allspice

                    1.Preheat oven to 350°F .
                    2.Mix together graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter.
                    3.Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 1/2 inch spring-form pan.
                    4.Bake 10 minutes.
                    5.Cool.... but don't turn the oven off yet.
                    6.Place potatoes in a baking dish.
                    7.Bake until a knife inserted in center goes through easily, about 1 hour.
                    8.Don't turn oven off.
                    9.Cool sweet potatoes enough to handle, peel, and puree.
                    10.Transfer 1 1/2 cups of sweet potato puree to a large bowl.
                    11.Mix in cream cheese, Stevia, sour cream, vanilla, salt, allspice, and 1/4 cup half-and-half... beat until smooth.
                    12.Beat in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.
                    13.Season with cinnamon and nutmeg.
                    14.Pour filling into crust.
                    15.Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour.
                    16.Turn off the oven.
                    17.Let cake stand 1 hour in oven with door ajar.
                    18.Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill.

                    A lot ot posters had really great ideas and I'd like to be at a big table with ALL those pies.

                    1. I'm going to try the parsnip-buttermilk pie from Fine Cooking (December issue, I believe). Do a google search and you'll find it on their website. Parsnips are definitely hip right now, especially if you can buy them locally grown in your area. You could do a nut-based crust, or add a flavored creme fraiche topping to up the hipster element.

                      1. In addition to the standard apple and pecan, a staple of my family's Thanksgiving table is a mocha walnut pie. It's a walnut crust with a mocha cream filling. The filling is light, though, because whipped cream and egg whites are blended with the mocha base. Let me know if you'd like the recipe. It's not new or hipster but it is delicious.

                        1. You might get some ideas from Martha Stewart's Pie Show, which will be Monday 11/16.

                          1. 1) Pear cranberry pie with gingersnap topping
                            2) Pumpkin chocolate tart.

                            I've been making Food and Wines pear cranberry pie with gingersnap topping for years. . The crumb top is amazing (particularly when you make your own gingersnaps) and I love the addition of just a little lemon zest in the crust.


                            The other one that might sound weird but is delicious and good visual appeal is a pumpkin chocolate tart with chocolate drizzled across the top. The key is to get a good quality semisweet chocolate. I like valrona. My recipe is from Martha Stewart November 2003 magazine. I was happy to see its finally posted online:


                            1. One year I did a ginger pear pie, which was close enough to apple, but stll different and quite delicious.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                                Pear pies really are quite stunningly delicious.

                              2. Wow - so much great stuff here! Thanks, everyone -- now who wants to come over and play
                                Test Kitchen?

                                1. hows about a meat pie?

                                  1. This pie won "Best of Show" in a 2003 pie contest -- "The Great American Pie Cookoff" I don't suppose it's sophisticated, but it *is* very very good, a "more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts" pie.
                                    Nice to have in the freezer before, during, and after holidays! Can be kept frozen, and cut as single servings.

                                    1. Traditionally I make an apple cranberry pie with a streusel topping. I also usually make a bruleed pumpkin pie.

                                      This year, I am trying to simplify, so I think I am going to serve one dessert, a stunningly good Double Chocolate Tart with Dulce de Leche that is garnished with sea salt from Food Network.


                                      1. Last fall Cooks Illustrated showed a two layer apple cranberry pie that was great. You make a cranberry "jam" and spread that over the bottom crust, then top with the apples. When you slice the pie you get the great two toned filling and three tastes, The apple alone, the cranberry alone and both together. My very Old School family went all kinds of nuts over that one.

                                        I don't have the recipe at hand to post. I am a bit dismayed that I cant' lay my hands on that issue.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: gardencub

                                          "I am a bit dismayed that I cant' lay my hands on that issue."

                                          I see a pie like that dated November 1, 2007 in my Cooks Illustrated online recipes. Maybe it wasn't last fall (2008), but the fall before?

                                          1. re: blue room

                                            that very well could be... now I will have to dig deeper... Thanks Blue room.

                                              1. re: valerie

                                                i would love to make the apple-cranberry pie from cooks illus.t but could i make it on tuesday to serve on thursday. i am traveling to my son's house on wed and told them that i would bring the pie. do people think this would hold up well and if not what kind of pie would do-please no pumpkin or its variations.

                                                1. re: alienor

                                                  With an apple pie, the crust tends to get soggy after sitting around. But some say you can freeze them. I've never tried it (freezing them).

                                        2. I love buttermilk pie this time of year. Obscure maybe, but I don't know about hip.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                            I love a buttermilk pie or a chess pie but I usually save those for february and march when there is no fresh fruit in season. Yes, the same could be said for pumpkin pie since so many of us used canned pumpkin but obviously pumpkin color and flavor evokes this season.

                                          2. This chocolate and pumpkin pie is really delicious and as pretty as it looks in the photo. http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/tripl...

                                            It's a deep dish pie so make sure you don't try to do it in a shallow pie dish. It also involves a lot of chilling and time between layers but it's very worth it if you have the time.