We could argue that pie crowns all Thanksgiving feasts. Following the annual post-dinner walk around the neighborhood, we turn to pie as the sweet finish to the occasion (and then a nap). We recognize the holy trinity of pies: pumpkin, pecan, and apple. However, the holiday also offers a chance to shake it up. Branching out to pie recipes that use other seasonal flavors or ones that even revive leftovers. Whether you’re a Thanksgiving traditionalist or you never make the same dish twice, we’ve rounded up some of our best pie recipes for a sweet end to the feast.
The Best Pie Recipes for Fall Baking
Move over, pumpkin! Butternut squash makes for a similarly creamy, earthy, and orange (obviously) pie filling. The decadent candied pecans (we like using Zorro Pecans) studding this show-stopping pie provide crunchy, sugary bits to contrast with the savory squash and herbaceous coriander-infused cream.
Elegant yet rustic, think of this pear slab tart as the French cousin to apple pie. Though it looks and sounds fancy, you’ll use frozen puff pastry for this recipe. And if you’re short on time, canned pears can be used in the place of home-poached ones.
Inspired by English treacle tart, this is one of chef Charlie Layton’s best pie recipes that he makes for Basic Kitchen in Charleston. His recipe calls for honey from Apis Mercantile Honey, which sources from apiaries around the Lowcountry and Southeast, which you can find through the Local Palate Marketplace.
This is definitely isn’t your grandma’s apple pie recipe. The bourbon-infused filling is made even naughtier with the hard cider caramel sauce (don’t worry, the alcohol cooks out of the finished product!). Note that you’ll have plenty of caramel left over, a perfect dip for apple slices.
Wherever Nathalie Dupree leads, we follow with oven mitts in hand. The addition of candied ginger ups the spice level found in traditional pumpkin pie. Plus, using cream cheese creates a firmer custard, more reminiscent of a cheesecake.
If you find yourself torn between a pecan pie or chocolate chess pie, let this recipe combine the best of all the worlds. This pie recipe strays from the typical goo found in most pecan pies, opting for half the corn syrup. Using dark chocolate also keeps the filling balanced instead of overly sweet.
You know it’s got to be good when the meringue is too tall for the photo. Southern baking queen Cheryl Day’s sweet potato pie is richly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and orange zest. Be sure to make it using Day’s extra flaky all-butter pie crust.
Surplus cranberries get suspended in a buttermilk custard and baked into a macadamia nut shortbread crust in this delightful recipe from Kindred in Charlotte, North Carolina. The balance between the tart cranberries, tangy buttermilk, and nutty, buttery crust make this pie one that has you coming back for seconds.
A big mouthful of fudgy custard? Don’t mind if we do! The quintessential Southern chess pie levels up by mixing melted Sinclair & Olive dark chocolate into the filling. Note that this recipe yields two 10-inch pies, so feel free to halve.
Tired of plain, ol’ pumpkin pie? Give the Thanksgiving superstar a decidedly Southern twist in this pumpkin-chess pie hybrid from Vivek Surti’s Nashville restaurant Tailor. This filling is less custard-y and more buttery and rich. It also uses a warm blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and clove spices.
Don’t banish leftover cranberry sauce to the back of the fridge. Give it new life a mixture of raspberries and almonds in this slab pie. This pie is perfect for a few days after Thanksgiving when you experience the fresh urge to bake.
Specialty Made Pies from TLP's Marketplace
Smart hosts know that the best way to accomplish the holiday to-do list (and stay sane in the process) is to outsource some help. Tennessee-based specialty shop Colts Chocolates (available through the Local Palate Marketplace) has you covered when it comes to dessert. They prepare their Southern-style pies using premium ingredients, like Texas pecans, real vanilla, cornmeal, and all-butter pie crusts, to achieve that made-from-scratch flavor. The pies get shipped frozen to preserve their freshness and only need a quick heat in the oven before they’re dessert table ready.
AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE PIE…
For a completely unexpected but festive addition at the dessert table, try this autumn squash cheesecake from Belinda Smith-Sullivan. It uses cushaw, a green-striped, crook-necked squash native to Southern states and the Appalachian mountains, and gets finished with a decadent pecan topping. You could also use butternut squash, sweet potato, or pumpkin.