Easy As Pie

Any way you slice it, there’s one dish you can count on making it “over the river, and through the woods,” come Thanksgiving — pie. No matter how emphatically after dinner you protest you couldn’t possibly eat another bite, there is always room for pie. Of course, pumpkin pie is the Thanksgiving classic with handmade crust and spicy custard-like filling, but why stop there?


Holiday pie cupboard

Make a Pretty Pie Cupboard 

This Thanksgiving I’m mad for plaid! Pies and petite wood pie box takeaways are tied up in lengths of plaid fabric and ribbon. Pick up the to-go boxes at your craft store and use a wood-burning tool to add some pie panache! Gather gourds, florals, feathers, ribbon, berries, wheat stocks, nuts, and pods to dress up your pie dessert bar or cupboard. Use copper containers to showcase the flavors and ingredients of the Thanksgiving holiday, from dried cherries to cinnamon sticks.


Monica Hart with pumpkin pie

Classic Pumpkin

Go with the pumpkin can that says Libby’s on the label. Look for 100 percent pure pumpkin and follow Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. Pour the filling into a homemade crust and bake per recipe instructions. This recipe is always perfection.


Thanksgiving decor

Gourd-geous Decor

Stack no-carve gourds, and/or pop fresh flowers into the top of the pumpkin well, adding a splash of water to keep the blooms fresh. A rustic pinecone wreath holds the dessert dishes and tricked-out napkins.


Mincemeat Pie recipe

Sweet Mincemeat Petite Pies and Tarts

1 green apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

1/2 cup almonds, toasted in a dry pan, finely chopped

3/8 cup golden raisins, finely chopped 

3/8 cup dried cherries, finely chopped 

1/8 cup crystalized ginger, finely chopped

¼ cup golden brown sugar

¼ stick melted unsalted butter

1/8 cup black currant jam

Zest and juice of half an orange

Juice of half a lemon

¼ cup Grand Marnier Liqueur

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon clove

Pate brisee crust


Pulse the apple, almonds, raisins, cherries, and ginger in a food processor until it all resembles a very thick paste. Add the zest, jam, and juices.

Mix melted butter and brown sugar and add to the mixture. Add spices and Grand Marnier and stir well.

Line three 31/2 inch tart pans and one 6-inch pie dish with pate brisee shell. Spoon the filling into the three tart pans and the pie dish, then top with lattice.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes for the tarts and 20-25 minutes for the small pie dish.

Tip: Sweet Takeaway

I love to pop these petite pies into small wood pie boxes to hand out as Thanksgiving guest gifts.


Pecan Pie recipe

Pecan Pie

This rich Thanksgiving pecan pie oozes with dark flavor. It even has a hint of orange.  


2 cups pecan pieces 

3/4 stick unsalted butter

11/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Splash of bourbon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

Pate brisee crust


Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a baking sheet on the middle rack. Use a 9-inch pie pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla paste, zest, and salt.

Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in corn syrup mixture. Put pecans in bottom pie shell and pour mixture over the nuts.

Brush crust edge with egg wash and bake until filling is set, about 50 minutes.

Cool and serve with a side of heavy whipped cream.


Cinnamon Martini with cranberry Ice Cubes

Cinnamon Martini with cranberry Ice Cubes

11/2 shots vodka

1/2 shot freshly squeezed
orange juice

1 shot cinnamon simple syrup (recipe below)

Cranberry cube (recipe below)

Place ingredients in an ice-cold cocktail shaker and shake and pour. Coat the rim of a martini glass in a bit of orange juice and roll in cinnamon sugar. Drop a cranberry cube or two into the cinnamon martini. Cheers!

Cinnamon Simple Syrup:

Combine 1 cup water with 1 cup granulated sugar and one cinnamon stick. Simmer in a pan on the stovetop until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool. Remove cinnamon stick.

Cranberry Cubes:

Place 1/2 teaspoon of canned cranberry puree into ice tray compartments and fill the sections with sparkling water. Freeze.


Bourbon Whipped Cream

Bourbon Whipped Cream

A dollop of boozy whipped cream is the perfect pie topper! Add a small splash of bourbon to 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and a teaspoon of sugar, then whip and serve.


Pate Brisee pie crust recipe

Pate Brisee

Three pies, one buttery crust! There’s nothing like a handmade, homemade Thanksgiving pie with that perfectly imperfect golden undulating crust and rich fillings. Pumpkin, pecan, sweet mincemeat — whatever the pie filling, my go-to crust recipe is always the same. It’s a delish buttery pate brisee with vanilla bean sugar, and orange zest. I make my own vanilla bean sugar with leftover pods from my baking.


21/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vanilla sugar

1 vanilla bean scraped

Zest of half an orange

1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and
cut into small pieces

1/4 to ½ cup ice water


Place all of the ingredients, minus the water, into a food processor. Pulse until just combined. With the machine running, add a little water at a time until the dough forms a ball. Divide the dough ball in half and pat it into two disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently press into a pie dish. Crimp the edges and brush with an egg wash.


See Monica Hart’s design, recipe, and entertaining ideas in every issue of 425 magazine, and at lafamigliadesignllc.com.

Credits: Hair by Seven the Salon, senior stylist Chu. Pinecone wreath, tobacco basket, and wood and marble pie stand from Haley’s Cottage in Kirkland. Napkins, napkin rings, copper martini cups, and shot glass from Crate and Barrel at The Bellevue Collection. Ingredients from Metropolitan Market in Kirkland. Petite pie boxes from Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames in Redmond.

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