Labeling pies "Holiday pie recipes" or any other food “Holiday” it says to me I am to expect it to be special. Although most pies are good tasting to me, if I serve pie for a holiday dinner I want it to be different or a little more special. Thanksgiving has always been the “big pie day” in my family. I do serve some pies for Easter but not as many as Thanksgiving; only my traditional cream pies.
I have met many people with their roots in other countries who have great Christmas holiday pie recipes. Sometimes they are called Christmas tarts and the recipes are really good. Since they do not celebrate in other countries our Thanksgiving, it makes sense that they would have pie for Christmas. As I said before, I expect something special when you call something “holiday”. Even saying that I must add that our main traditional pies for Thanksgiving have always been pumpkin and mincemeat. Even today those two are at the top of my pie list this one holiday of the year.
After my two traditional holiday pie recipes, I have a list of my “special pies”. What makes a pie special? I think of pies as layers and each layer made to perfection. The base or crust is the first layer and like all foundations should be made special. The crust is the first step to ensure a delicious pie. There are many different kinds of crusts. This choice is a matter of your taste but it should be a good blend with the filling or other layers. Even if you choose to use a pastry crust there are many choices of recipes for those. If you follow the directions, I have found most of these to be very good. For pies built on pastry crusts, the foundation should be light, flaky and tender
If I only could give you two suggestions when making pastry crusts for holiday pie recipes (Or any recipes) it would be to use the best quality ingredients. A good brand of shortening is very important because it determines the texture and flavor. I always stick with a good brand like Crisco. Lard is also very good but it must also be a good quality. I have also found some recipes using “real” butter to be very good. My number two suggestion is to be careful not to overwork the dough causing it to be tough. Sometimes if you refrigerate the dough before rolling, it is much easier to handle. Often recipes will instruct you to do so.
Do you want to “dress up” the pies for your holiday pie recipes? Reroll the leftover dough and cut out shapes with holiday cookie cutters. These can be arranged on the pie and baked or they can be baked and then placed on top. If you feel you are not good at crimping the edges to make it “pretty”, that is easily solved. Cut little shapes out of rolled dough with 1 ½ inch cutters or even bottle caps. After lining the pie plate brush the edge of crust with egg white. Place these little dough shapes on the edge overlapping each just slightly but evenly and press lightly. This makes a beautiful border once it is baked.
NOTE: When baking a pie shell, line with foil or parchment paper and weight down with beans or rice to bake.
A pumpkin pie is a great choice for a holiday pie recipe.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Combine in a large mixing bowl the pumpkin and following ingredients; mix well.
Pour into pie shell; bake at 400F degrees for 10 minutes.
REDUCE HEAT to 350F degrees; bake until set about 45 minutes (Insert point of sharp knife in center; it should come out clean).
Some holiday pie recipes like this one reminds me of the more contemporary mincemeat without meat.
FOR CRUST combine flour, butter, sugar and salt in mixing bowl.
Mix together until crumbly; gradually blend in ice water.
Mix into dough and divide in half; shape into flat disks.
Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F degrees.
Roll 1 disk on lightly flour surface about 1/8 inch thick.
Press into the bottom and up sides of pie plate (9 inches).
Trim excess dough around edge and crimp as desired.
Weight bottom of crust down; bake about 15 minutes until golden.
Remove weights; move to rack to cool completely.
FOR FILLING combine figs and next 4 ingredients in a saucepan.
Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; REDUCE HEAT to medium high.
With slotted spoon remove figs and cranberries to a dish; set aside to drain.
Simmer liquid in pan 12 to 15 minutes until thickened.
Place figs and cranberries in baked crust; pour juice mixture over top.
Roll out remaining dough disk on floured surface to 11 inch circle.
Place over top of fruit mixture in crust; crimp edges to seal.
Make several small cuts in top of crust for vents; sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until lightly browned about 15 minutes; cool completely.
Learn how to make holiday pie recipes with the colors of Christmas and flavors of the holidays.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
FOR SHELL place flour and next 4 ingredients in food processor bowl.
Process until crumbly; add ice water through feed tube processing until dough forms.
Roll dough out on floured surface to about 11 inches; fit into 9 inch pie plate.
Trim edge leaving about ½ inch overhang; crimp in favorite design.
Bake shell for 10 minutes and remove foil and beans.
Bake 8-10 minutes until golden; set on rack to cool completely.
FOR CRANBERRY FILLING combine cranberry and next 2 ingredients in saucepan.
Cook and stir until boiling; cook one minute longer.
Remove from heat and stir in liqueur; set aside to cool.
FOR CREAM FILLING over low heat melt white baking pieces in small saucepan.
In a small bowl slightly beat egg with water; gradually stir half of melted pieces.
Stir egg mixture into the saucepan with remaining melted pieces.
With saucepan over medium heat cook and stir 7 minutes until thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in almond extract; set to cool.
In mixing bowl beat cream, powdered sugar and vanilla on high to stiff peaks.
RESERVE HALF of cream mixture for decorating.
Fold remaining HALF of cream mixture into the egg mixture.
Spoon HALF of filling into baked cooled pie shell.
FOR DRIZZLE remove 1/3 cup of cranberry mixture and put through a sieve.
Set sieved mixture aside; return cranberries to the cranberry mixture.
Spread the cranberry filling over the cream filling; top with remaining cream filling.
Fit a pastry bag with star tip; fill bag with reserved cream mixture.
Use to decorate top of pie with lattice and dollops around edge.
Add a little water if needed to drizzle sieved cranberry sauce.
Drizzle over pie and refrigerate; serves 8.
Learn how to make holiday pie recipes in spring form pan.
Chocolate Sweet Potato Filling
FOR PASTRY combine flour, sugar and salt in mixing bowl.
Mix in butter and shortening until a crumbly meal.
Gradually add in ice water to form a soft dough; gather into ball.
On lightly floured surface roll into a log (9 Inches).
Cut off 4 inches and pat into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap.
Cut remaining log in half; wrap each part in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate all dough until well chilled at least 1 hour.
On lightly floured surface roll dish to into 9 inch round.
Fit into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.
Roll each of remaining parts of dough into 13 inch ropes.
Fit ropes around base of spring form pan joining ends together.
Press the dough evenly 2 inches up the sides of the pan.
Refrigerate until cold.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F degrees.
FOR FILLING combine both sugars and next 3 ingredients; set aside.
In large mixing bowl whisk the eggs; whisk in 3 CUPS pureed sweet potatoes.
Whisk in the sugar mixture; spoon HALF into the refrigerated pastry shell.
Top filling with HALF of the chocolate pieces; cover with rest of potato filling.
Arrange remaining chocolate pieces on top; bake in center of oven 1 hour.
NOTE: Center of tart should be almost set in center.
TURN OVEN OFF and leave tart in oven until cool.
FOR WHIPPED TOPPING combine all ingredients in small mixing bowl.
Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form; serve with tart.
Peaches and blueberries make great holiday pie recipes or any other time of the year.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
FOR CRUST combine in small bowl the flour, sugar and cinnamon.
Press mixture in bottom and up sides of 9 inch tart pan.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown; place on rack to cool.
FOR FILLING in large bowl combine blueberries and peaches.
Add the honey and toss to coat; set aside.
FOR TOPPING in small bowl combine flour and next 4 ingredients.
Stir the melted butter into the mixture.
Spoon the fruit filling into the crust; sprinkle with topping.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.
Cool on rack 15 to 30 minutes before serving; serves 6 to 8.
What more could anyone ask for in holiday pie recipes than chocolate, coffee and peanut butter?
Peanut Butter Filling
FOR CRUST combine flour, butter, brown sugar and salt in mixing bowl.
Mix until crumbly; add cream and blend into soft dough.
Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.
Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness; press into a 9 inch deep dish pie plate.
Trim and crimp edge; refrigerate 30 minutes.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F degrees.
Prick bottom and sides of crust with fork; bake 12-15 minutes until golden.
Place crust on rack to cool completely.
FOR CHOCOLATE FILLING combine chocolate and next 5 ingredients in saucepan.
Place over low heat; stir until chocolate is melted and espresso is dissolved.
Pour chocolate mixture into crust; freeze until firm about 30 minutes.
FOR PEANUT BUTTER FILLING place melted and cooled peanut butter in bowl.
Gently fold in whipped cream and vanilla; spoon over chocolate filling.
Refrigerate for 1 hour; serves 6-8.
OPTIONS: Garnish with melted chocolate, chocolate curls or pastry cut outs covered with chocolate.
People all over the world love holiday pie recipes made with pears.
Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
FOR CRUST combine flour, sugar and butter in mixing bowl.
Work with hands until crumbly; make a well in center.
Combine the beaten egg, cooking oil and water.
Add egg mixture in the well of flour mixture stirring to combine.
Work with hands into a ball.
Press into the bottom and up sides of 10 inch pie plate.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown; cool thoroughly.
FOR CUSTARD beat eggs in large mixing bowl until frothy.
Stir in sour cream, orange peel, orange juice and sugar.
Add lemon juice and stir until mixture is smooth and well combined.
Pour custard in the crust; place in a larger pan on the oven rack.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until custard is set; cool completely then chill.
FOR PEAR TOPPING combine in skillet the water lemon juice and sugar.
Add pear slices and bring to a gentle boil; REDUCE HEAT.
Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes just until pears are tender.
Set off heat and let pears stand covered in cooking liquid up to 30 minutes.
Drain pears well and arrange over the top of flan.
FOR SUGAR SYRUP place sugar in small heavy saucepan over medium heat.
When sugar starts to melt stir constantly until it is a caramel color.
Stir in the water; drizzle sugar syrup over the pears.