A Lot of Crusts

For Thanksgiving in our house there’s no turkey, no stuffing, no cranberry sauce. Those foods are all well and good, but my guys couldn’t care less about them. I’ve made the traditional feast, and, in all honesty, it wasn’t worth the effort to my family. So, I’ve turned the holiday into an excuse to make pie. Although pie takes planning and work and time, it is my favorite thing to make, and, unlike the rest of the Thanksgiving meal, pie is greeted with enthusiasm by the people that I live with. So, I bake pie. A lot of pie.

For the last ten years, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is when I have a Pie Party. Thirty-two people showed up yesterday. Each person eats half a pie. Yes, they really do – I keep records of what I bake and what’s leftover. I know what people eat! Yesterday I set out fifteen pies.

Fifteen pies require crusts. Some have pastry on tops and bottoms. It took me three prep sessions in advance to make the twenty crusts needed. I roll out and freeze the crusts a week before the party. My directions are here.


pie lattice


I like my pies to look rustic. My lattice work is uneven. That’s on purpose.

Sometimes pies take finagling to get them right. The juices in this berry pie didn’t set the way I wanted, so I spooned the excess out. Spilled juices don’t mar that uneven lattice. It’s not the prettiest pie, but finessed just so, it was the favorite pie of the party.


berry pie


Some pies require pre-baked crusts. The table on the porch provided a cooling spot.

cooling crust


There are always leftover scraps of crust. I turn those into Pie Crust Cookies. Which is a good thing to have, because it is hard to wait until the party for pie!

pie crust cookies


All in all, I made eleven different types of pies. I use the organization skills that I learned when I worked in professional kitchens. I start with the menu. I make a shopping list, which is broken down into what can be purchased in advance, and what needs to be fresh. I create a prep list, divided into do-ahead jobs, and those that are last minute. I create a timetable for the last two days – what needs chilling, when a pie needs baking off, etc. Being organized is what allows me to enjoy the process of the actual baking.

I’m the only cook in the family, and I like it like that. I do get help with tidying the house, bringing out the folding chairs, etc. Although, not everyone lends a hand.



Tomorrow I’ll show you the pies.



  1. I think your berry pie would be my favorite too. To be imperfect is to be human but berry pie is divine.

  2. Oh, how I wish I didn’t have so much trouble making a perfect crust. I will have to study your directions.

      • OK, I see one problem already….I used Crisco which is kept at room temperature, and I also think is was maybe a little old. I definitely will try your recipe. Thanks.

  3. Mmmmm, pie! My mother used to make “snails” out of the leftover crust. Roll it out, a little butter, cinnamon and sugar, and then cut into strips and roll up. My brother and I would wait impatiently for our pie snails!

  4. Wow..I remember doing all this with my Mom, but now that it’s only myself and Jim, I don’t have as much to do. You’re lucky to have help with the clean up. My Mom and I always did the cooking and the cleaning. Guess it’s not so bad for just me now since there isn’t as much food to prepare, there isn’t as much to clean up. Looks like you are much better organized than I am :-)

  5. I agree..that Thanksgiving “feast” is a ton of work and I have to honestly say..I do not enjoy it…I am stressed about how the turkey will be, can I get everything done and keep it hot at the same time, do I have enough table settings? The whole thing makes me nuts, and when you really think about it..all anyone really wants is dessert…so your pie idea is right up my alley. My daughter is 33 and she did the “honor” this year and then looked at me and said..”Mom..I am exhausted and this is too much work..let’s go out next year”. Well said….

    • The point of Thanksgiving is to gather with friends and family around the table and to give thanks.Having a meal that becomes a tradition adds to the sense of community – but you could do that with grilled cheese sandwiches or lentil soup or Chinese take-out. Or, skip the big dinner and just make one glorious pie. It doesn’t matter – as long as you’re around that table with the people you love :)

  6. My mom always called the cookies she made out of left over pie dough “lady fingers!” I love a pie!