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In the Kitchen: Favorite dessert for Thanksgiving

Have you begun thinking about your Thanksgiving Day dinner menu? I have! Especially about things I can make ahead of time.

No matter what decadent dessert I might want to make for Thanksgiving Day dinner, our children always request the same thing: Deep-dish apple pie. I might suggest we have tiramisu, or chocolate molten cakes. 

They answer, “Oh, that’s fine, but can we still have apple pie? Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without it.” 

So, I almost always bake this traditional, all-American pie and everybody is happy. 

Of course, you can purchase pie crust dough, but homemade is so much better. You can easily make the pie crust dough a day or two ahead, and then assemble and bake the pie first thing in the morning. Do serve the pie with best quality vanilla ice cream. Yum! 

Deep-dish apple pie


1 ¼ cups flour plus 2 tablespoons

2 ½ teaspoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ½ sticks plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and very cold

1/4 cup ice water (you might need a little more)

1 egg yolk

Pie filling:

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

8 peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples

Pie topping:

1 ¼ cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and very cold

1/4 cup ice water

The easiest way to make the crust is to use a food processor. Pulse the flour, powdered sugar and salt a few times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles small crumbs. Add water and run food processor just until dough comes together. Add a little more ice water as needed. Flatten pie dough into a disk and wrap in parchment paper. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or several days before needed.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugar and butter in the food processor. Add the water and pulse until combined. Put mixture in the refrigerator to chill. 

When ready to bake pie, roll out pie dough and fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Flute edges. Line the pie dough with parchment paper and then add pie weights or dried beans. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove pie weights or beans and the parchment paper. Brush the pie crust with beaten egg. Return and bake another 10 minutes, covering edges with foil if they are getting too brown. Remove from oven. 

Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. For the filling, in a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Place the thinly sliced apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. 

After the pie crust has baked for the 20 minutes, pour apples into the crust. Spread the topping on top of the apples. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes — if pie is getting too brown you can lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Cool the pie on a rack for several hours before serving. 

Another favorite Thanksgiving Day dessert is pecan pie. Here is a foolproof recipe that everybody always loves. The crust makes enough for two crusts. You use one for this recipe and you can freeze the second one for another time. 

Pecan pie

Pie crust:

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups butter

1 egg

1 tablespoon white vinegar

5 tablespoons ice water


1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup corn syrup, light or dark

1/3 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 ¼ cups pecans, coarsely chopped

For the pie crust, in a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the butter and run the food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg and white vinegar. Add the water and run the machine until dough comes together. Divide the dough in half. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes or overnight. You can freeze the other half of the pie dough for use later. 

For the filling, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla and eggs. When pie crust dough has chilled, roll it out and carefully fit in a pie pan. Flute the edges. Add pecans to the pie shell and then pour on the syrup. Lightly cover the pie with aluminum foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes. If the center is still quite “jiggly,” cover the pie with foil again and continue baking another 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack and then cover and refrigerate four hours or overnight.