If you’re onboard with Times cooking columnist Ben Mims’ Pie is Canceled for Thanksgiving 2020, then you’ve got his Pumpkin Nemesis, Malted Milk Pecan Pie (with a no-roll crust, so it’s kind of not really pie) and Apple Fritter Cake with Butterscotch Glaze to choose from this year. All are A-mazing (trust me, I’ve tested and tasted them all), so you won’t go wrong with any of them.
But if you’ve got your eye on a pie, you are in good company. I hear the voice of my former Times colleague Amy Scattergood insisting, in her Spiced Pumpkin Pie story of 2015, that “this is Thanksgiving, the one time of the year when you need a real pie, preferably pumpkin, the custard laced with a happily inordinate amount of spices — lots of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, some turmeric and, in my kitchen, a dose of cayenne.”
Along with Amy’s pie, I found some other gems in our archives, classic-sounding pies but each with a twist — a Bourbon Pecan Pie with No-Roll Crust is vegan. Apple-quince pie — you don’t see much that calls for quinces. Perfect Pecan Pie uses olive oil in the crust, not butter. Babalu Caramel Pecan Apple Pie is apple pie smothered in caramel and pecans. ‘Pumpkin’ Custard Meringue Pie is actually made with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. And there are more!
What Ben’s desserts and these pies share is a delightful surprise. For the baker it may be the discovery of a new technique or ingredient; for the eater, an utterly divine eating experience. Those are things the pandemic cannot take away from us.