While many of us are surely waiting with great anticipation for Thanksgiving (dinner), there can be no denying that the true start of the show is always the pie, whatever your favorite flavor might be, at the end of the meal. But where did this tradition of eating pie after Thanksgiving start? It might be tempting to think of the Pilgrims and Native Americans enjoying heaping slices of pumpkin pie after a bountiful harvest, but sadly, the tradition of pie-eating did not start until many years after the first Thanksgiving. Only in the late 18th and early 19th centuries would the spread of pie recipes in cookbooks across the United States, assisted by the rise of canned pumpkin and pie crusts, would the practice of eating pie as dessert become widespread. As the 19th and 20th centuries passed, enterprising chefs made the idea of Thanksgiving pie a tenet of the Thanksgiving tradition. With that being said, which pie should you eat after your glorious feast?
In this category we have the three classic Thanksgiving pies: apple pie, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie.
1. Apple Pie
Even though pumpkin pie has an undisputed claim to the position of most stereotypical Thanksgiving pie, it cannot beat the nostalgic taste of the almighty apple pie. Apple pie blends the fall flavors of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and more, together, which coupled with a buttery pastry, makes for an irresistible treat. Enjoy with ice cream or whipped cream to taste what dreams are made of.
2. Pumpkin Pie
Due to its vivid combination of fall flavors and spices (so much so that pumpkin spice shampoo is now a thing) pumpkin pie is still a solid choice for many Thanksgiving celebrators. For many, the mere taste of pumpkin pie is enough to invoke fond Thanksgiving memories. Sorry, but apple pie is still better.
3. Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is indisputably a classic Thanksgiving dessert, and while it has whole legions of devout supporters, it sometimes has too much sugary filling and not enough of that crunchy pecan topping to satisfy more of its consumers. While on the subject of the pecan pie, it would be a tragedy to not mention the Derby pie – an upgraded pecan pie (courtesy of some chocolate chips).
How many pies showcase berries as the star of the show? While berry pies might be a tad unconventional for Thanksgiving dinner, there is no denying that they make for a satisfying, sweet finish to a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Cherry Pie
What’s not to love about the sweet cherry filling punctuated by tender bites of tartness? The cherry pie is so famous (and delicious, if that wasn’t obvious enough) that it even has its own holiday in February, while Traverse City in Michigan hosts numerous cherry-pie themed events in the annual National Cherry Festival.
2. Michigan Four-Berry Pie
A Michigan specialty, the four-berry pie combines cherries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries to create a mouthwatering pastry. With this pie, you can experience all of your favorite berry flavors that meld together for a sweet yet tart taste in every single forkful that you shove into your mouth (yes, it’s that irresistible).
3. Blueberry Pie
Blueberry pie, much like its cousins to the South, blackberry pie and huckleberry pie, is a regional favorite, especially in New England. Maine, what with its ample supply of world-famous wild blueberries, is an especially good supplier of the lattice-enclosed pie packed with little berries that make up for their size with zest.
4. Peach Pie
While not a berry, peaches still deserve to be mentioned here. Especially beloved in the South, peach pie stuffs heaps of fresh and juicy peaches into a rich pastry crust. The sweet, soft, feeling of peach filling melting in your mouth along with pastry is one that’s hard to beat, if possible at all. Cobbler doesn’t even begin to compare.
Cream and Crust
Cream makes for a great base for pie – just think of all the things that pair well with the sweet, light, taste of cream. Really, anything goes.
Surprise! You probably weren’t expecting to see cheesecake on a list of pies, were you? A cheesecake is technically a pie – after all, it is a mass of cream cheese filling spread across a graham cracker crust and baked until a lovely golden brown. The taste is rich and creamy, and we won’t judge if you eat it after Thanksgiving dinner in lieu of pie.
2. Lemon Meringue Pie
How does one describe it? Pillows of fluffy meringue, gently blowtorched, cover the treasure inside, a filling of tart lemon custard. Each slice cuts through marshmallowing clouds into yielding mousse. While it may not be a conventional Thanksgiving dessert, it nevertheless makes for a true showstopper.
3. Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie is best described as the tropical cousin of lemon meringue pie. Made with the regional Key West limes, which gives the pie a beautiful light green hue, Key lime pie offers a tangy, creamy bite. Garnished with a thin-cut wedge of lime and a dollop of whipped cream, the pie is also enough to make any post-Thanksgiving feaster hungry.
4. Banana Cream Pie
Another Southern dessert, the banana cream pie is a true nostalgic treat. Mounds of banana pudding covers the layer of sliced bananas at the bottom. When vanilla wafers are used for the crust, it tastes even more like banana pudding. This sweet, velvety pie is sure to please dessert-goers.
5. Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut cream pie, a confection made with coconut custard and mountains of whipped cream nestled together in a pie shell, is a tried and true favorite. The tropical coconut flavor is enticing but not overpowering, and the sugar content makes it a favorite for guests who do not appreciate post-feast sugar bombs. Unfortunately, this is one of those pies that you either love or hate.
Which pie is your favorite? (Of course, you don’t have to pick – just eat them all! 😉 )