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Food

Need some stress relief? Bake a pie for Pi Day

Peach Pie with Duck Fat Crust
Making pie dough from scratch is wonderfully relaxing and the results are delicious.
(Leslie Grow)

Spending a lot of time indoors these days and looking for a good project that isn’t organizing your closets? Pie baking is challenging enough to feel like an accomplishment but simple to get right. Plus, the tactile pleasure of handling dough is relaxing and, at the end, your reward is dessert.

These are 10 favorites, categorized by degrees of ease:

Easy press-in crusts

Nicole Rucker’s Key Lime Pie cooked and styled by Genevieve Ko.
It’s even simpler baked as bars.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times / Prop styling by Joni Noe)

Key Lime Pie We didn’t think this beloved pantry pie could get better until we tried this version from L.A. baker Nicole Rucker. A generous hit of salt brings out the tangy pop of limes.

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Black bottom pie
Top with perfectly whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
(Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times)

Black Bottom Pie The first version of this chocolate custard pie appeared in our pages in 1932. Clearly, it’s timeless. A foolproof filling and whipped cream top mean it’s easy too.

Banana Cream Pie Master the basics of vanilla custard and a standard meringue with this no-fail classic banana cream pie recipe. You can use a store-bought graham cracker crust if you don’t want to make your own.

Vegan recipes for Thanksgiving
Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork.
(Evan Sung / For The Times)

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Pecan Pie This tender cookie-like crust is vegan, as is the not-too-sweet but super nutty filling, and the results are even tastier than buttery versions. The filling can be made with walnuts instead if you prefer.

Simply stirred fillings

Vegan recipes for Thanksgiving
Sliced apples collapse into tenderness.
(Evan Sung / For The Times)

Spiced Apple Pie If you’ve never made from-scratch pie dough before, start here. Not only is this spiced shortening crust very easy to roll and handle, the filling ends up tender like the filling in a McDonald’s fried apple pie.

Strawberry pie
Whole berries make this stunning.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Strawberry Pie A take on vintage strawberry pie with whole fruit glossed in a boozy glaze from pastry chef Roxana Jullapat of Friends and Family.

Peach pie
Frozen peaches or berries are delicious in this crust too.
(Leslie Grow)

Peach Pie With Duck Fat Crust
Whether you use fresh or frozen peaches or a mix of berries to fill it, you’ll love the shattering flakiness of the duck fat crust.

Nashville Hot Pumpkin Pie
For even more heat, sprinkle a little extra spice on top.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)
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Hot Pumpkin Pie A little hit of spice complements the brown sugar sweetness of this filling, which is just as tasty with sweet potato as it is with pumpkin.

Pies for pros

Lemon meringue pie
A rich lemon curd stands at the center of this terrific pie.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Lemon Meringue Pie Nick & Stef’s recipe combines a sweet, tender almond crust with lemon curd and Italian meringue. That trio of pastry techniques yields a luscious lemony pie.

A slice of a Royal Bibingka Pie
A slice of a Royal Bibingka Pie by Filipino-American pastry chef Isa Fabro.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times )

Royal Bibingka Pie Pastry chef Isa Fabro layers coconut butter mochi with a sweetened cream cheese in her vodka pie dough, then tops it with savory shredded cheese. Get organized and make it component by component, and it’s a breeze to put together.


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