A Busy Week

Across America, people are getting ready for Thanksgiving. In my house we don’t do the big family meal, with turkey and the fixings. Instead, on the weekend following Thanksgiving we have the Pie Party. It’s an event that I invented, and for my family and friends it has become a much looked forward to tradition. (If you type Pie Party into the HenBlog search bar, you can read about all of the parties from past years.)

The party is all pies. That’s it. A lot of pie. This year I’ll have more than 30 guests, and each one eats half a pie (yes, really, I keep records!) I bake all of the pies myself, from scratch. I use my organizational skills honed when I worked in professional kitchens. I have exact prep lists and have planned out the work flow. Yesterday I made 15 crusts, plus decorative cut-outs.

Baking is a combination of exact measurements and technique born from experience. I weigh out the flour.

measuring flour


But the rolling out is all about feel.

rolling crust

By the way, that’s my beloved J.K. Adams PRP-2 19-Inch-by-2-Inch Maple Wood Rolling Dowel. It has a nonstick patina of butter in its pores.

I froze all but two of the crusts. Those were turned into pies, which were then also frozen. My pie crust recipe, and directions for freezing, are in this post. Some pies can be baked ahead. Some can be baked the day before. Some have to be made on the morning of the party. Some touches, like meringue, are done right before the guests arrive.

Today I go grocery shopping. I need cream and lemons. I’ll also head to a farmstand for some heirloom baking apples. (See my apple pie recipe.)

Here’s this year’s menu:

Lemon Pie, Toll House Pie (one with peanut butter chips, one with just chocolate), Apple Pie with Crumb Topping, Classic Double-crust Apple Pie, Pear and Cranberry Pie, Chocolate Pie with a Graham Crust and Meringue Piping, Chocolate Chunk Bourbon Pecan Pie, Apricot Cream Cheese Tart, Peach Pie (made with homegrown peaches), and two savory tarts: Onion and Prosciutto, and Corn and Tomato.

I’ll make doubles of most of these. And, no doubt, as I always do, I’ll worry that I don’t have enough (!) and make something at the last minute. As you can imagine, this week, blogging will take a backseat to the cooking.

What’s on your menu?


      • Funny! I am 6’1″ and my counters in my new kitchen are higher to save my back.
        I spy Phoebe out in the goats pen. Did she secretly tunnel over for a visit? The coop is looking nice and cozy for her. Will she be lonely without the girls this winter?

  1. Hi Terry, so good to be back. My 2 day hospital stay took rather longer, but all’s okay,
    Boy have you had a busy time so much has happened. So glad the move with the Ladies went okay and Phoebe’s has settled on her own.
    Your pie party menu looks awesome as usual. I have done quite a few of your pie recipe’s from your book and also off the blog, they have all turned out delicious. The grandkids all favour the chocolate and cream variants but my favourites are the Peach & Lemon Chiffon pie, Cranberry & Nut tart and the Walnut Meringue cookies, to which I add Toffee instead of Chocolate as I am not a great chocolate person…Hope all the baking goes well as I am sure it will, you are to organised for it not to…Have a great party….:)

  2. Groooooan…. My daughter and I are soooo jealous of your cooking space. All I have is about a 2 foot by 30 ish inches of 60’s linoleum style counter top. Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous!!! Happy baking!

  3. Your kitchen is beautiful and a pie party sounds like a fun tradition! This year, my fiance and I will be traveling to 3 Thanksgiving dinners, all back to back. 2 for both sides of his family and 1 for mine.

      • We usually end up being in such a rush to get to the next family gathering that we don’t really get to visit or enjoy the food. I think this year the times are lining up so we can take our time. *fingers crossed*

        • My mom years ago moved Thanksgiving to the Saturday after and Christmas to Christmas Eve.
          That way no rushing and no over eating. Works out well for us.

          • I wish some of our relatives were willing to change the holidays; your mother is very thoughtful, Ken. Because my fiance is the only one in his family who has to move between relatives, our requests don’t carry much weight. My parents try to accommodate us with timing, but everyone wants a traditional get together with a traditional meal. Turkey gets old when you’re expected to eat it with gusto 3 times in one day. LOL

  4. Every year I love reading about your pie party and seeing all the finished ones. As always the selection looks great!

  5. I agree with the first comment. The pear and cranberry sounds like a delightful combination!

  6. This year for the first time ever my youngest daughter is hosting our Thanksgiving dinner. That does not mean I am off the hook being responsible for homemade stuffing, casseroles and pumpkin pies but somehow I sense that our traditions are changing. I feel like it is the changing of guard and feel a bit nostalgic but so proud that my daughter wants to carry on our many traditions. While we all love Christmas, Thanksgiving has long been the family favorite. Love the pie feast and how wonderful it must be year after year to gather with family and friends.

    • Things change. My son asked “how many children this year?” and the answer is only one. There used to be lots of little ones – including him!

  7. 30 guests for dinner? Oh my! Good for you girl! Hubby and I are Thanksgiving orphans as the kids go to their in-laws (we get them for x-mas day). We cheat and go with orphaned friends to a fancy restaurant buffet. On the rare occasion I make a pie I also cheat and use the refrigerated crusts. I guess i am just a cheater, LOL. Veronica has her beautiful face plastered to the camera as though she just found it. Her head tilting one way and then the other. Hysterical!
    I’ll just mention again in case you don’t know, Phoebe appears to have tunneled over into the goats pen.

    • Ah ha ha ha!!!!!!!!! I just saw Miss Phoebe leap through the appartly cut hole in the door screen. I guess she won’t be so lonesome without the girls after all.