Pie takes the cake at Thanksgiving

American Pie Counsel cookbook features recipes for some super holiday desserts

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In my house at Thanksgiving, the turkey always steals the show.


This year, though, that old bird will be taking a backseat before dinner is even served when my guests get a glimpse of what awaits them for dessert.


Octoberfest Pie – one of the recipes featured in the just-released cookbook, “America’s Best Pies: Nearly 200 Recipes You’ll Love” – will no doubt score the star billing on the dessert table. The twist on traditional pumpkin pie features layer upon layer of decadent goodness: a graham cracker crust topped with a layer of cream cheese and sour cream, a layer of pumpkin and Cool Whip, topped with another layer of cream cheese, pumpkin and Cool Whip.


Calories? No worries: They don’t count on Thanksgiving, right? (Wink, wink.)


The Octoberfest Pie is just one of nearly 200 award winners from the annual American Pie Council/Crisco National Pie Championships in Celebration, Fla., where, for the last 17 years, amateur, commercial and professional bakers have competed to determine who bakes the best pies in America. The cookbook was compiled by the American Pie Council – whose mission is to preserve the “total enjoyment, consumption and the pursuit of pie” – along with Linda Hoskins, executive director of the organization.


In addition to sections dedicated to the more traditional apple, cherry and custard varieties, the book also includes some unusual concoctions, such as My Big Fat Italian Strawberry Basil Wedding Pie and Vanilla Bean Brulee Pie, as well as a section of gluten-free and no-sugar-added selections.


Also included are tips for baking a great pie: “Read the recipe in its entirety before beginning,” is tip No. 1. A no-brainer, for sure, but you’d be surprised at how many folks skip that important step and end up with less-than-desirable results.


“America’s Best Pies” is available at amazon.com, select retailers and through www.piecouncil.org.


And to those die-hard pie traditionalists in my family (you know who you are), no worries: The cookbook has a great basic pumpkin pie recipe that will find a spot on the table, too.


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