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Our Food Editors' All-Time Favorite Thanksgiving Pies

  • Photos by Robin Stein
  • Text by Brooke Porter Katz

Our food editors hail from parts North, South, East, and West. Each one shares a favorite Thanksgiving pie -- and a sweet little slice of life. 

Deep-Dish Pumpkin Custard Pie

“I remember eating this old-school dessert as a kid. My recipe is inspired by a version in the 1919 cookbook “Mrs. Grace Osborn’s Cakes of Quality,” by a lesser-known contemporary of the also-fictional Betty Crocker. The secret is adding whipped egg whites to the filling. As it bakes, the mixture separates into three distinct layers: a rich, creamy custard; a light, airy souffle; and a delicate, sugary shell. At first glance, it looks like any other pumpkin pie, so be sure to slice it at the table for the big reveal.”

--Greg Lofts, Deputy Food Editor

Bird's-Nest Pudding Pie

“I’m obsessed with the “Little House on the Prairie” books, and will never forget the scene in “Farmer Boy” where they eat a bird’s-nest pudding: whole apples baked in cake batter. I take my version a step further, putting it all in a piecrust. I use McIntoshes for their classic applesauce flavor, and cranberries for a hint of tartness and color. It looks hard to slice, but the apples are so tender that a knife slides right through.”

--Sarah Carey, Editorial Director of Food

Meyer-Lemon and Hazelnut Tart

“I always crave a small sliver of something bright and tangy for dessert -- no surprise, since I grew up with a Meyer-lemon tree in my backyard in L.A. I went light on the sugar in this tart’s no-bake lemon curd, and my love of hazelnuts led to a naturally gluten-free crust. The dollops of toasted meringue on top are extra-festive, but you can use lightly whipped cream instead.”

--Lauryn Tyrell, Associate Food Editor 

Pear and Sour-Cherry Pie

“Sour cherries are mostly grown in the Midwest, where I grew up, but luckily you can buy them frozen online. Fresh pears and spices like cinnamon and ginger add sweetness and warmth to the tart filling -- just what I want this time of year. And the crust isn’t as labor-intensive as it looks: I simply cut slits in the dough and stretch it to create the lattice design, then lightly score the edges for a faux-rope effect.”

--Lindsay Strand, Assistant Food Editor

Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Tart

“Pecans are huge in Oklahoma, where I’m from. My grandma always made a traditional pecan pie, but one year I decided to dazzle my family with a salted-caramel tart. They were very sweet about it, but I could tell they were bummed out; they missed the pecans! This version is my compromise. It tastes like a candy bar, with chewy caramel and toasted nuts, all in a chocolate crust. And the finishing salt adds extra crunch.”

--Shira Bocar, Food Editor at Large