First came Thanksgiving, and with it its complicated history, its tryptophan (not a real thing!), and its bevy of side dishes. Then came Friendsgiving, a neat way to see your friends every November. Now comes Pie-Giving, and man, we love this one. Here’s how it works.
We spend tons of time perfecting our dough, cutting out the autumnal pastry leaves, and filling our beautiful pies. Then everyone rolls towards dessert hour, patting their full bellies, too stuffed to properly enjoy them. Why not flip the script this year, and make pies the stars of the show? (Think: cookie swap, but with pie!)
There are a few ways to do this, but however you go, décor first. (And stay safe! If you can stay outside, do.) Break out your ruffled pie dishes, the prettiest dessert plates, your grandmother’s pie server, some pretty flatware. Maybe you encourage your friends to bring their favorite pies, and you supply the sides: fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, a beverage station with coffee and tea, and Champagne or Moscato d’Asti on ice. Or you contribute a few pies and ask folks to bring drinks and their best baked offerings. Without further ado…
Frozen puff pastry! A food processor! All the shortcuts you love make cameos in this puff pastry apple galette, which sacrifices nothing on the road to fantastic flavor. The prep time is just 25 minutes, brilliant for a baked good, and there’s no simmering of apples or anything like that. A secret ingredient of buttery pistachios puts the whole thing over the top, flavor-wise.
2. Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crunch and Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream
Bobby Flay may be all splash and dash and boy-next-door good looks, but he’s also got a rock-solid palate, as evidenced by his well-reviewed New York City restaurant, Gato. So when he tells you his pumpkin pie is something else, you should listen. Bourbon, maple and cream go together like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla in a to-die-for whipped cream. The pie itself is silky and custardy. You want this at Pie-Giving.
Pears do not deserve second billing to apples. They just don’t! When they’re in season, they’re a delicate, plush dream. This roasted pear pie features crème fraîche in the dough, which gives the crust an impossible lightness. Don’t feel like dealing with homemade bourbon-vanilla ice cream? Because this is quite a country, you can often find that flavor of ice cream or gelato at the store nowadays! And you can always bust out vanilla ice cream and drizzle it with bourbon yourself.
We can all agree that there must be apple pie, right? And that ideally, it’s a salted caramel apple pie? That pie concept swept the nation for good reason. This is a deep-dish pie crust (!!!), so no one is left complaining she didn’t get enough crust to go with her sweet, caramelly apples. (Who is this person complaining, anyways?)
Someone at this party is not making eye contact and is laser-focused on the pie spread. She is looking for the signature look of pecan pie. Don’t disappoint her. Do up the ante with chocolate bourbon pecan pie. What the what? Chef Elizabeth Heiskell, who snagged the recipe from a friend, says, “The chocolate chips and bourbon are a lagniappe, a Louisiana term for a little extra surprise.” The recipe makes two pies, so you can stash one for yourself for later.
Cool: having a pie-giving party. Memorable forever: handing someone his own tiny fig and honey hand pie when he walks in the door. It’s a petite, portable pie that could just as easily go out the door with a guest wrapped in a napkin, like an old-timey pocket-warming potato. The filling can employ fresh or frozen figs, so there’s no need to wait for fig season. Ah… pocket pies. What a season. What a holiday.