Thinking About Pie

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I know that many of you are planning menus and writing shopping lists. You’re thinking about turkey, stuffing, and maybe a green bean casserole. I’m not thinking about any of those foods. It’s not that I don’t love a classic Thanksgiving dinner, but over the years circumstances have kept me from creating that fabled groaning board in my own home. I don’t have nearby family to invite over. Our friends have their own commitments and can’t fill the seats in our dining room. We’ve tried staying at inns, going to a community pot-luck, and having a scaled-down version for the four of us. None of those alternatives felt right to me.

Eight years ago, facing yet another sure-to-be disappointing November, I sat myself down and thought hard about what I truly loved about Thanksgiving. It wasn’t the turkey, and it wasn’t the need to relive childhood memories.What I wanted was a house full of people and the casual, relaxed, hanging out at the table that happens at a food-centered, home-centered holiday. It dawned on me that I could have that without the Thursday dinner. I came up with my own unique tradition – one that features my hands-down-favorite part of the Thanksgiving menu – I invented the Sunday After Thanksgiving Pie Party.

Woman’s Day Magazine got wind of it. Perhaps they read this post, or this one. In any case, the current issue of the magazine

carries an article about unusual Thanksgiving traditions, and my pie party is featured.

This weekend I’ll be writing up my final detailed lists. Shopping list. Prep list. Pies I can freeze list. Last minute list. I have to be organized. I’ll be making about fifteen different pies. None will be pumpkin. Here’s what I’m thinking of so far, but this list will change before I start baking. Chocolate Pie, Lemon Pie (my recipe is online at Woman’s Day. Their editors added a 1/4 cup of sugar to my recipe. I do like my lemon pie on the tart side), Peach Almond Gallete, Rhubarb Custard Pie, Apple Cheddar Crumble Pie, Chocolate Pear and Ginger Pie, Tollhouse Pie, and Banana Cream Pie. On the savory side there will be Butternut Squash and Feta Pie, Chicken Pot Pie and a classic Quiche Lorraine.

Are you making pie? I’m open to suggestions. My lists aren’t finished yet.


  1. Congratulations! These all look so delicious. I would probably skip Thanksgiving all together and join you on Saturday! What fun!!!

  2. It sounds wonderful. We face the same challenges at Christmas and have come up with a similar solution.

    I have to ask though, how many people are you expecting, to get through so many wonderful pies?

  3. That is very cool, Terry, being featured in the magazine. I remember reading about your pie party last year and drooling over it. We don’t have family here either so some years we are invited to friends’ and others we roast a big organic free range chicken. Not so many leftovers that way.

  4. Tomorrow’s grocery list will include the Woman’s Day Thanksgiving issue Terry. I think that the Apple Pie recipe you shared with us last year is the best ever!! Caught Pearl on camera in the dust box yesterday, and thought she was going to roll around in it all day. Such happy hens.

  5. All those recipes sound great!

    Some favorites around here:
    — apple and onion pie with bacon (very medieval — use one onion and a crumbled slice of cooked bacon to every three apples)
    — apple/date/fig/dried cranberry pie with marsala wine and orange zest
    — rhubarb-pear pie (as tasty as strawberry-rhubarb, and the pear slices turn such a nice pink!)
    — pear-ginger pie thickened with minute tapioca (I use crystallized ginger, but paper-thin fresh-sliced is good too)

    One of the local grocery chains can be talked into splitting a fresh turkey in half down the backbone (we call this a hemi-turkey) so our two-person household doesn’t end up eating turkey for a month (have you heard the French definition of eternity: two people and a ham?) That way we can join friends and family for the actual holiday, but still get enough dark meat and stuffing for ourselves later.

    happy thanksgiving!


    • Those pie combinations sound fabulous. I am salivating reading Terry’s post and these comments. Apple onion bacon — gotta try it.

    • Apples and onions are natural together, I found a recipe once that called for the addition of brown sugar bt Hubbard didn’t like it … What type/flavor bacon do you use? I have some wonderful smoke stuff from my cousin-in-laws farm up north

      • Stupid autocorrect … That was supposed to be “hubby didn’t like it” … I don’t think my squash has any opinion on the matter

  6. any body that gets invited to this event is one lucky human. Yummy!! Pie is good!!

  7. Oh I so wish that we didn’t live across the continent from you. Share pictures with us so that we may drool. I can’t find any of grandma’s heritage pies to add to you fabulous list of choices.

  8. I just got done baking seven full size pies for the holidays & 18 tartlets for the kids lunches … We plants Hubbard squash this year not realizing how big they really get – I roasted one up, we ate what we could of it for three days and then I pursed up the rest and turned it into pie filling (found a recipe on allrecipes,com) my problem is I still have enough insides for3 more pies but I’ve run out of regular flour for the crust – bread flour would make it too tough.

    Chicken pie? Oh no … I need to recount the betties tomorrow when your cameras come back up

  9. congratulations Terry! that’s so great! can’t wait to see photos of the final pies for this years event :)

  10. I was in the hair salon today getting my usual “clip and dip” and riffling through magazines and Good Gosh…there you were in Woman’s Day! Fabulous! Home next to check my favorite blog and Good Gosh…here you are with comments about the magazine article. It’s a small world. Love it!

    • You know how some doctor’s waiting rooms have really out-of-date magazines? Five years from now you’ll probably come across that article again!

  11. You can’t beat a cheese and onion pie or a corned beef, tomatot and onion pie – yum yummy yum!

  12. I just saw a recipe for a Faux Pecan Pie, which substitutes crushed
    pretzels for the pecans. Since I have diverticulosis, I can’t eat nuts. I always loved pecan pie. Think I might try making a small one. Enjoy your pie party.

  13. Fantastic! I also remember the Pie Party post from last year…thought it was a wonderful idea. I’ve never made a pie before but I think you have just inspired me!

  14. Your pie’s look delicious. I always have to make custard, pumpkin, and chocolate. Family members favorites.
    Betsey Freese from “Living The Country Life” has a fabulous looking pair of rubber boots up on Face Book today. Made me think of you…yellow and green with hens and roosters on them.

  15. You must let us know how many pies you end up making. Seems like you are going to need a lot of pies. You must have a lot of patience to make so many pies.

    Let us know how the pie party goes too. I am intrigued. I am sure its going to be great fun.

  16. Congrats Terry!
    Side note: Are the Gems going to get a place on the “bios” page?

    • Yes! I’ve got a redesign of my web site happening before the new year. There will be better navigation, room for new content and I’ll be adding those bios.

      • Well this how “newbie” to the chicken-world *I* am … I thought “GEMS” was just a term of endurement for the ladies of the coop

      • Yay! So very excited for the redesign! Sounds great! Went out and bought a copy of the magazine today. Can’t wait to take a look.

  17. I see chocolate pie is first on the list. One of my all time favorites; that and lemon pie, both with big white fluffy meringue.

  18. I’ll have to pick up the magazine! You must have quite a collection of pie plates, I have only 5.

  19. That answers my earlier question of how many pies you are going to make. 24 is an awful lot if pies, I can’t imagine making so many! I have never made than two at a time.

  20. I just made a pie called Cranberry Nut Pie. I purchased the cranberries from Great Brook so the cranberries are harvested right across the street. It was delicious, I posted it and it came out beautiful.

    • I have a cranberry nut pie in my Farmstead Egg Cookbook. Great combination. I’m using cranberries from Great Brook as well! The just went into a banana-cranberry-walnut loaf.

  21. Can’t wait to see you in the magazine! Will pick one up today! Would love to come over for pies….A friend who is an awesome cook invited my tiny family over….I am taking her up on it….I HATE the clean up part! Why is it that EVERYTHING that is on the Thanksgiving menu requires it’s own pan, plate, bowl, spoon, fork, platter, dish, etc.?

    • I know someone who’s mother used a paper tablecloth, paper plates, the cheapest plastic utensils possible (so that it was impossible to eat without breaking off bits of the fork) and everything was cooked in foil containers. At the end of the meal, the mother rolled it all up in the tablecloth and tossed it out! Easy, yes, but not exactly a way to create fond family memories. To this day my friend can’t bear to eat with plastic utensils!

  22. Terry, I have a Pumpkin Pie baking in the oven as I type. I purchased a copy of Women’s Day this weekend and was delighted to see you featured. Congratulations. Would you share your recipe for dark chocolate pie? Sounds heavenly. I know the men folk in my family would be thrilled. I have to ask, why no pumpkin pie on your baking list? Hope you are enjoying the day, Julie.

    • I love pumpkin pie, but I figure that on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, everyone will have had their fill of it and will be hankering for something else. I’ll post a chocolate pie recipe – I’m going to do a post about crusts, too!

  23. After all this time, I have only just noticed that I had spelt my name wrong. I had some how missed out the D and not noticed until today. I know it doesn’t really matter but it comes to something when you can’t spell your own name! I have now amended it.