I love pie. Pie is the best. But for a holiday where pie plays a major role, I don’t really love Thanksgiving pies.
Thanksgiving’s a big deal in my family. We always come home. We get together not only all day on Thanksgiving, but pretty much every other day that weekend. We play football. We play cards. There are glorious sunsets. There is SO much food. This year I think we actually set a record.
Every year I make a fruit pie or two, because pumpkin, German chocolate, and chocolate chip pie are just not for me (though I love me some pecan from time to time). There’s usually a pear-apple, pear-banana, or some similar combination. This year I was really at a loss for what else to make, and then my mom found a frozen bag of dark cherries.
After looking up a number of recipes on Pinterest, I had to basically make up the recipe and hope it would work (I had visions of it just being this giant pool of juice, the soggiest pie ever). It was actually super simple and so easy to throw together. The cherry pie ended up being my favorite, and I had it for lunch, dinner, breakfast the next morning, and the tiny sliver that was left the next morning as well. This pie is my everything. I have no idea why, but it’s amazing.
The pear-apple is a recipe I made up years ago and make all the time. I love the texture and sweetness that the pears add, and almond extract, ginger, and cardamom pair (ha, pear) particularly nicely with pears. It’s an oldie but goodie. And both pies barely have any added sugar, so you don’t have to feel an iota of guilt for having a big slice for breakfast as well.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet on medium heat, then add the pears and apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and add the brown sugar.
Stir together, then cook on medium or medium-low (depending on how ripe your fruit is and how intense your stove is) until mixture thickens and fruit softens.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust (don’t pre-bake).
Mix together the streusel ingredients and evenly layer over pie filling. It should be wetter-looking than this here, I got a little lazy.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and thick, and the topping is golden and crisp. Serve right away, or you can make the day before to make things easier.
The cherry pie is even easier. Take a bag of frozen, pitted bing cherries (the dark ones), and thaw. They’ll gain a lot of juice, which is good. Pour into a bowl, add a teaspoon of almond extract, 1/4 cup of sugar (I used brown, but you can use whatever you prefer), and a scant 1/4 cup of cornstarch. Stir together until both the cornstarch and sugar are totally combined.
Pour into the prepared (unbaked) pie crust.
Mix up the streusel and layer over the pie. I added a little cardamom to the topping of this pie, just to give it a little kick.
Bake for 20-30 minutes (probably around 25), until the filling has solidified and the topping is golden brown on top (again, my topping was a little dry this time due to negligence and rushing).
For both of these pies I used my favorite whole wheat pie crust recipe (9-inch) and a simple streusel recipe below
Versatile Streusel Topping
- 1/2 cup of flour (I use whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of quick oats
- Liberal sprinkle of cinnamon (probably 1-2 teaspoons)
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, or 2 tablespoons of softened butter
- You can also get creative, adding other spices (ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.)
Combine the dry ingredients, then add the butter or oil, using a fork or your fingers to combine into a crumbly topping. You can make less or more, depending on how much you need (just keep the 1-1-1 ratio for flour, sugar, and oats).
Bing Cherry Pie with Streusel
- 10-12 ounces of frozen, pitted bing (dark) cherries (the amount is forgiving)
- Scant 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 1/4 cup of sugar (any kind fine, I used brown)
- 1 teaspoon of almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the pie crust in your pie pan, crimping the edges (or however you roll). Thaw the cherries, making sure to keep the juices. Stir in the cornstarch, sugar, and almond extract. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Stir together the streusel topping, distributing the oil or butter and creating a nice crumbly texture. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the cherry filling. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is solidified and the topping is golden and crispy.
Pear-Apple Pie with Streusel
- 2-4 pears (depending on size; the amount is forgiving)
- 1-2 apples (again, just depending on how big they are)
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of almond extract
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- Cinnamon, ginger, and a sprinkle of cardamom and nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the pie crust in your pie pan. Cut up the pears and apples into even bite-size pieces.
Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the fruit. Add the sugar, spices, vanilla, and almond extract to the fruit, and stir everything together. Cook on medium to medium-low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Initially some liquid will cook out of the fruit, and then everything will thicken. Pour into the pie crust, then stir together the streusel topping and sprinkle on top of the fruit. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and thick and the topping is golden and crispy.