Why You Should Go Big With Your Thanksgiving Pies

Thanksgiving may be all about the turkey and the sides, but we should be showing just as much love for the pies. Pumpkin, apple, pecan; the pantheon of classic Thanksgiving pies is large and there isn't a loser in the bunch. After a heavy, savory meal of starch and gravy, the sweetness of pie is a welcome palette cleanser, in addition to just being delicious, and the rustic appearance is the perfect homey finish to one of our most cherished traditional meals. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't make some alterations. You can make your Thanksgiving pies better — and you can do it by making them big.

Increasing the size of your pies, essentially making a deep dish version, has some big advantages. Simply increasing the amount of pie filling you're making doesn't require much extra work, and a thicker pie will feed more people, decreasing the time and effort it takes to make dessert. It can also be a great way to save space, in the oven and on the table, if you only need to make one pie instead of two, or two pies instead of four.

Deep pies also have an abundant and dramatic appearance, perfect for a holiday that's all about nature's bounty. And let's be honest: Have you ever heard someone complain that there is too much filling in their pie? A great crust is essential to a good pie, but people are there for the fruit and the filling, so give them what they want.

A few simple adjustments

For your big pie, you're going to need more crust. Upping your favorite pie crust recipe by 50% should be plenty to give you the higher sides you need. A normal glass or ceramic pie dish can handle a deep crust, all you need to do is crimp the edge around the rim so it's standing more upright and make sure the crimped crust is thick enough to hold the filling. Aiming for a pie 2 inches deep (rather than the standard 1-inch) is a good marker. If you're making a double-crust pie like apple, you can always dome the top crust to fit in more filling as well.

The 50% number is also a good starting point for increasing the amount of filling you are making. For fruit pies, remember the filling will cook down quite a bit, so you'll want to make enough filling to rise a little above the top rim of your crust.

Finally, you'll need to bake your big pies longer than you normally would. A double-thick pumpkin pie could take 10 to 15 more minutes, and for an apple pie, you might need to add a half-hour or more. Keep an eye on your pie and know the signs they are done. The crust should be deep brown, fruit pies should be bubbling through the vents, and a knife inserted into a pumpkin pie should come out clean. After that, it's just slice and serve.