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Thanksgiving Throw Down - pie edition

We're having a pie contest this Thanksgiving and, of course, I want to crush the competition. Ideas for the best freaking pie in the world?

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  1. I think the pumpkin pie on the cover of fine cooking looks like the best pumpkin pie ever!!! I am making it for Canadian thanksgiving this WE, will report back if anyone is interested.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gloriaa

      Please do report back! I'm in charge of sides and desserts so I'd really appreciate a heads up on the pumpkin pie! Thanks! :)

      1. re: Gloriaa

        That one does look amazing with the pumkin and the caramel. I'm dying to try that combo but the filling is cream-cheese based, which isn't my favourite. I'm wondering if a different style of filling would hold up to the caramel coating. (Still pumpkin, of course). I think I'm going to give it a shot.

        1. re: Gloriaa

          Did you make it in the end? I loved the caramel and especially the candied seeds but didn't find the cornmeal crust to be better than a 'regular' pie crust.

          1. re: FrenchSoda

            Yes. I hated the crust, made it twice and both times I had a piece fall down and it was too high. In the end I did not
            Ike the taste of it.The filling looked skimpy. Will make it again, using a regular pie crust and regular pie plate. I think I was worried it was going to be too sweet so probably over salted the caramel. I too really liked the seeds, so easy and delicious.

        2. Although I haven't yet tried it myself, Paul Prudhomme's recipe for Sweet Potato Pecan Pie gets stellar reviews everywhere, if you want to try something other than pure pumpkin. The recipe is all over the internet.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Aravisea

            I wouldn't trust the internet for Paul's recipe. I've seen to many "adaptations" I wouldn't trust. Better head to the library if you don't have his book.

          2. Chocolate Pecan Pie or maybe a Shoo Fly pie? Dutch Apple Sour Cream pie?

            2 Replies
            1. re: buzzardbreath

              I totally forgot about sour cream apple pie. We used to love it. I do have some macs on hand. Maybe tomorrow.

              1. re: Candy

                I've never eaten sour cream apple care to describe the flavor. I'm having a hard time imagining it.

            2. The BEST pie is lemon meringue, as everyone who's anyone knows (grin). But that will never win a fall pie contest. Make a standard pumpkin one using the recipe from the back of Libby's can and a refrigerator pie crust. And watch the competition cringe when it wins.

              Fun article about such a "ringer" pie winning :

              1. My favorite is Kalhua Pecan. I make it every Thanksgiving, and it beats out all the Bourbon Pecan by a mile (Sorry, Kentucky.)

                I got this recipe back in the 80s -- I think lots of people make it.

                2 Replies
                1. I've been making this the last few years, and it always gets rave reviews. It's also stunning. I made it a couple times using some bacon grease in the crust. Also good.

                  ETA: Oops. Maybe the link would be helpful? :) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/17/din...

                    1. my favorites for thanksgiving: a sour cream apple and a walnut caramel pie. We have a simple pumpkin... nothing to look at but with a perfect pie crust it is heaven.

                      1. Sweet Potato Pie topped with a toasted oat pecan crumble...toast the pecans over low heat in a skillet with butter, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, a bit of dry mustard (my secret ingredient). While that's going mix up some dry oats, ap flour, a little nutmeg, a little bit more brown sugar and cut in cold butter until tiny crumbs form.

                        Turn it out onto a parchment lined baking sheet; bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through to evenly brown golden.

                        After you bake your pie, mix together the pecans & oat mix (breaking up the oat mix slightly cause it sticks together in large clumps). Sprinkle over the top of the warm pie and allow to cool. Gild the lily by drizzling caramel over the top for good measure. Totally fall!

                        1. In an effort to recreate the apocryphal Pear Pie with Gruyere Crust, from the TV show "Pushing Daisies", I made a white whole wheat crust with Trader Joe's gruyere-cheddar blend, grating it into the dough. That is a dynamite crust for apple or pear pie and would probably be good with pecan, squash, or sweet potato pie too.

                            1. The sauce here is incredible to go with a pumpkin, squash or sweet potato pie:

                              1. Rose Levy Beranbaum's pecan pie, made with Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup, and drizzled, if you like, with dark dark chocolate sauce.

                                1. King Arthur Flour, yankee pecan pie recipe. Fabulous with the maple syrup instead of corn syrup. I use grade B Maple syrup for even stronger flavor.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: rasputina

                                    LOVE grade B maple syrup for all syrup uses (well, other than when I use Steen's), especially in pecan pie. And I also use a smidge of bacon grease in my pie crusts, if I'm out of lard.

                                    1. re: pine time

                                      Another Grade B maple syrup lover here. Wish maple syrup wasn't so blasted expensive in CA but the Maple Syrup at Costco will do in a pinch.

                                      1. re: buzzardbreath

                                        I've seen the 365 brand at Whole Foods for 15 dollars a quart when it's on sale.

                                        1. re: rasputina

                                          Wow, that'a great price. I just paid $13. for a 12 oz. bottle.

                                  2. These all sound amazing! I want to make them all!

                                    1. The Chile Apple Pie discussed in this thread is a game changer. The link to the recipe is in the OP. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/747916

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        OMG. I gotta try that one!!

                                        1. re: cjdatt

                                          The pie can be very special and after a coupla years, you can take advantage of the thoughts/improvements of other 'hounds. This will be my fourth Thanksgiving making it as it is the third year that I was asked to do so in October. That cheese crust is money.

                                          Last year, my frozen Hatch chiles were ruined by the repercussions of Hurricane Sandy and I had to substitute roasted poblanos. The result was more the fun of the first few shots at a fireworks show than the flagrant joy of the finale. Still good, but a tier down.

                                          Also, get the BEST possible vanilla ice cream you can to place on top for service.

                                        2. re: MGZ

                                          I just had a green chile apple pie in Pie Town, NM last week. It was delicious and Pie Town was a fun little stop.

                                          I hadn't thought to make one myself. My parents always have Hatch chiles in their freezer. hmmmmm

                                          1. re: pagesinthesun

                                            we used to make a pumpkin pie with honey and cayenne. My husband and I LOVED it... no one else did. so sad. We tried serving it several times, and every time people (not just one, mind you) would be offended that someone had messed with the traditional pumpkin pie! It really was a great recipe, but was never appreciated by the audience. Eventually, I stopped making it because only the 2 of us would eat it...

                                        3. caramel apple bacon pie :) its the best fall pie I've made so far but my personal favorite (I've never made one though so I can't claim it to be mine) is a pear and marzipan I had once. I dream of it.

                                          1. First most important thing: know your audience!!
                                            Do you have close family who will swoon over a homestyle grandma pie judging?? Or foodies from a big city who are looking for inovation? Pies from the south are very different from pies in the northwest....
                                            This will help you chose what kind of pie to make- then be sure to do a few trials and have a gorgeous presentation....:)

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                                              I'm going to have a mix. Some are adventurous, others are decidedly not. Maybe one pie for the traditionalists and another to push the palates/cover my bases?

                                              1. re: cjdatt

                                                Sounds like the perfect combination.

                                                1. re: cjdatt

                                                  If you're allowed to submit two then yes, for sure. The above chowhound endorsed and love chili apple pie sounds like an awesome "adventurous" one, and then maybe an updated classic like pumpkin with a nut crust or your own childhood favorite.....

                                                  1. re: cjdatt

                                                    My foodie familiy all swoons over pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving - just saying. Those always disappear the fastest (we all make one with preferred recipes, though I usually make something else because my aunt's recipe is the best.)

                                                    I made a buttermilk chess pie with spices last Thanksgiving, and it was the bomb.

                                                    1. re: Savour

                                                      Oh I love buttermilk pie. Haven't made one for a couple of years. Must remedy that.

                                                2. First, let me say that I love raisins. I realize that puts me in a minority...although I only recently came to realize how many people seem to despise raisins.

                                                  One of my favorite cookbooks is an old one, "Cooking from Quilt Country" by Marcia Adams. It was the companion book to the PBS series. Anyway, the old fashioned Amish recipes in that book are so much fun. The Amish really know their pies, too.

                                                  My favorite pie is from that book, it's a raisin pie also known as "Funeral Pie" (because it was served at Amish funerals I guess).

                                                  I don't think the Marcia Adams version is online anywhere, but I found this version which is essentially the same thing. Don't knock it until you've tried it.


                                                  1. I have gotten requests for the Cook's Illustrated Pecan Pie every year for the past several years. I usually end up making about ten pies for thanksgiving alone, some for my family and some for friends. I highly recommend it!

                                                    1. Momofuku Milk Bar's "Crack Pie". The recipe is in the Momofuku milk bar cookbook by Christina Tosi..and it is spectacular. Second runner up. The Candy Bar pie is a second runner up. It takes a while to make but both pies made my family completely forget about pumpkin pie and apple pies last Tthanksgiving. In fact, the requests have recently come my way.