When it comes to pies, some things are classic for a reason. Even so, all classics need to be kept on their toes, so we encourage you to think outside the box—especially the cardboard, store-bought one sitting in your freezer.
Pecan pie is good, but pecan pie with bourbon—like this one from Pies 'n' Thighs—is fuckin' awesome. After all, when has adding whiskey to your dessert ever been a bad thing? (No need to bring up that story about what happened to Aunt Doris three Christmases ago.) And did we mention that it's super-easy to prepare? Have a few nips before you bake—we won't tell.
Pumpkin pie? Traditional, sure, and gets the job done just fine. But brown butter pumpkin pie is head-turning enough to keep your guests awake once that turkey nap starts to hit. This recipe from Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, NY has a subtle butterscotchy flavour that takes it to the next-level. Take that, Sara Lee.
For another amped-up take on the pumpkin pie, mix in some goat cheese to the filling, and toss together a simple almond-rosemary crust with packaged cookies. Sounds like a lot of flavours, but it totally works. Kinda tangy, a little salty, and definitely sweet and pumpkin-spicy. Yep, Cara Nicoletti's goat cheese pumpkin pierecipeis pretty epic.
If you're ready for something a little freakier, consider the vinegar pie. Luckily, it doesn't really taste like vinegar—it's sweet, silky, and interesting enough that it won't go untouched by just-slightly-too-full diners. Although vinegar pie is a Southern classic, this one comes from innovative chef Chris Shepherd of Houston's Underbelly.
If it's the morning of turkey day and you still haven't planned for dessert (tsk, tsk), the answer is here. Just throw flour, butter, and sugar into a food processor for the crust, and add some heavy cream, eggs, and chocolate into a pot. The next thing you know, you'll be pulling this addictively pudding-like chocolate pie out of the fridge just in time for a sugary nightcap.
Being on pie-duty shouldn't be a chore—it's an honour, and it should be treated as such. Bookmark this list now, and never succumb to pie basic-ness again.