"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."
Whether you like to keep it classic or experiment, it’s important to be prepared with a recipe (or two or three) you can count on during the holidays. These five cookbooks offer the best of the best in pies—from easy, no-bake tarts to more complicated recipes that involve overnight refrigeration. No matter which pie catches your eye, there’s something here for everyone.
What’s for Dessert, by Claire Saffitz
When it comes to dessert, cookbook author and viral video star Claire Saffitz can do no wrong. She’s got a recipe for everything, and her delicious pies are no exception. In her second cookbook, What’s for Dessert, published in November 2022, Saffitz “developed each and every recipe with approachability in mind, taking into account home bakers’ time, space, and budget limitations.” As she describes, “None of the recipes requires a stand mixer, about half require a hand mixer, and a great number are makeable entirely by hand.” Around the holidays, when kitchens are a special kind of chaotic, this simplicity is particularly welcome. Whether you’re inspired by Saffitz’s Cinnamon-&-Sugar Apple Pie or the decadent S’mores Tart, you’ll no doubt be able to find a dessert that’s both easy and exquisite—and looks like it took way more time and effort than it really did.
50 Pies, 50 States, by Stacey Mei Yan Fong
Stacey Mei Yan Fong’s 50 Pies, 50 States presents an entire book’s worth of recipes from all over the country—and then some. Fong opens with a section called “Personal Pies,” in which she shares a few recipes that are close to home. The Pandan Cream Pie with Toasted Coconut, Mango, and Coconut Whipped Cream pays tribute to her birthplace, Singapore. The Kopi Jahe Custard Pie, made with cold-brew coffee and fresh ginger, highlights flavors from Indonesia, where she spent part of her childhood. But the bulk of Fong’s book is made up of pies from all over the U.S. There’s Apple Pie with Coffee Cake Crumble from New York, Deep-Dish Pumpkin Pie from Illinois, and Mashed Potato Pie from Idaho, made with a hash-brown crust and scalloped-potato topping. Moral of this story? You could make a different pie for every person at your holiday table.
Bake Smart, by Samantha Seneviratne
Samantha Seneviratne’s new cookbook Bake Smart, published in November 2023, takes a different approach than other books—some might say a smarter one. Instead of organizing the book by types of dessert, like cakes or cookies, the food stylist and recipe developer organizes the chapters by main ingredient: Butter, Sugar, Eggs, Flour, Nuts & Cocoa, and Yeast. Pies and tarts populate many of these chapters, and there are tons of fun recipes for fall and winter baking. Maybe you make Seneviratne’s Fried Blueberry Mini Pies for Hanukkah as an ode to traditional sufganiyot, or fried jelly doughnuts. Or for an office holiday party, try out the festive Chocolate Brûlée Tart. With its toasted hazelnut crust and caramelized sugar topping, an empty pie plate (if not a promotion) is in your future.
Justice of the Pies, by Maya-Camille Broussard
Chicago chef Maya-Camille Broussard founded her bakery, Justice of the Pies, in 2014. In February 2022, she received a semifinalist nomination from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Baker. Later that year, Broussard published a cookbook, also called Justice of the Pies, showcasing her style and talent. This book is a trusted classic for holiday baking, offering more than 85 recipes that run the gamut from traditional (à la Bourbon Pecan Pie) to inventive (hello, Salted Caramel Mocha Chess Pie!). Broussard has a pie for every kind of taste bud, whether you’re up for something unique, like a Bleu Cheese Praline Pear Pie, or something nostalgic, like Peanut Butter + Jelly Pie. If savory’s your thing, opt for the Apple-Braised Turkey Pot Pie, or go with a Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Cherry Tart. There’s also an entire section dedicated to fluffy, sugary whoopie pies.
Mayumu, by Abi Balingit
Growing up, Abi Balingit’s Filipino mother thought that sugary American desserts, like Duncan Hines brownies and boxed yellow cake, were too mayumu, which means “sweet” in Kapampangan. Balingit, however, has always loved such desserts, which is why she named her debut cookbook for the word itself. In Mayumu, published in February 2023, Balingit’s section on pies opens with a history lesson. “With the U.S. occupation of the Philippines,” she writes, “this penchant for apple pie was popularized and later adapted with native fruit fillings. Thus, pies containing tropical ingredients like pineapple and buko (young coconut) have become beloved desserts in our culture.” Balingit uses Filipino flavors as a foundation for whimsical, imaginative pies that are as delicious as they are fun. The Giant Cashew Tart, made with a cashew and caramel filling, nods to the miniature versions Balingit always makes sure to bring back from the Philippines. The Buko Pie Lollipops, filled with creamy coconut, are an adorable spin on a hand pie—perfect for gifting or even a cookie swap.
You Might Also Like