Let’s be honest, is there really such a thing as the perfect pie for Thanksgiving? Everyday is a good day for pie, especially when you’re living through a pandemic. This year I’m thankful for the people who realize my mantra of “we before me”. I know how hard it is to reimagine Thanksgiving—that’s what I had to do nine years ago when Michael died suddenly.
Someone mentioned a progressive Thanksgiving their family is organizing, and it sounded like a great, safe and responsible way to celebrate. They’re all cooking a course fo the meal, then packing it up and dropping off portions at each other’s homes, then they’ll sit down and celebrate together virtually. Does it sound ideal? Maybe not, but these are not ideal times we’re living in right now. When did we become incapable of sacrifice for the sake of our greater community?
The ritual I’ll miss most this year is cooking for the community center in Woodstock. The annual Thanksgiving dinner is cancelled, rightly, due to to Covid. Other than that, our Thanksgiving plans are mostly the same as usual this year, just me and the girls with the addition of Matthew, and what matters most is that thankfulness is the heartbeat of our day. And because I’m me, I’ll still be baking three pies because of course none of us agree on a favorite, and that’s totally fine—it just means pie for breakfast the days following Thanksgiving.
Your menu matters even if it’s a smaller gathering this year. Need some ideas of what to cook? Click here to find 33 Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes.
It took a long while to find our own groove for this very family-oriented holiday after Michael died, and much as I miss the big gatherings, I try to remind myself and our daughters how fortunate we are and all the good that still exists in our lives. My wish is that all of you find a peace-filled way to safely and responsibly celebrate Thanksgiving this year, too. On that note, let’s talk pie.
There’s a lot of opinions out there on what makes a perfect pie crust.
My feeling is a perfect pie crust doesn’t leave you in tears. Depending on your skill level, that’s going to mean something different to everyone. Personally, I’m not in the flaky pie crust category. Flaky is the holy grail for hand pies and galettes but when it comes to something that needs slicing I prefer a rich, buttery crust that has structure to it. That’s the genius thing about my foolproof pie crust which I love so much I turned it into a perfect pie crust series of recipes, with variations including buckwheat, whole grain, refined sugar-free and even a vegan crust.
These pie crust recipes need no chilling.
That’s right—you can make these perfect pie crust recipes and roll them out immediately. You also can make them in advance if desired–just take them out of the fridge 15–20 minutes before rolling out. Egg and vinegar are key players here (except in the vegan recipe), and the reason the crusts need no chilling. Butter is also a key ingredient in these perfect pie crust recipes so don’t skimp—buy good quality butter if your budget allows. Read more here about why the butter you buy matters in baking.
Double crust, lattice crust or crumb topping—choose your own adventure this Thanksgiving.
Perhaps one of the best things about a socially distanced Thanksgiving is being able to do it your own way. No family members poking their nose in the kitchen, thinking only their way is the best way to make gravy. Same goes for your pie. Obviously, some pies answer this question for themselves.
Pies like pumpkin are usually single crust, though I do have a crumb topped pumpkin pie recipe if you’re curious. Lattice crusts are much easier than you might imagine. If you scroll through my highlights on Instagram, you’ll also find a video of my making a lattice crust.
And on that note, I’ll leave you with an easy reference guide for all the pie crust recipes on In Jennie’s Kitchen.