Whether you're craving classic apple, sugary pecan or tangy strawberry-rhubarb, there's a pie for that. As one of the most versatile desserts, pies easily shift to fit whichever season you need them to. While pumpkin may be mandatory at your Thanksgiving table, it may seem out of place at a spring picnic. And since fresh berries are plentiful in summer, a cooling strawberry pie would be more at home at a backyard barbecue than a snowy, winter night. There's no need to limit your creativity to just taste, either-the look of a pie can be an art form, too. We've seen pies in jars, as pops, with lattice tops or piled high with toasted meringue. Food & Wine's guide to pies explores all the possibilities, from classic holiday ideas to inventive recipes from chefs around the country.
Bourbon-Pecan-Apple Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Grill-Baked Apple Galette
Being a gal who lives on the rustic side of life (mismatched dishware, Mason jar centerpieces, a general disregard for fussiness), fruit galettes have long been my go-to desserts. I love how you can roll the crust into a haphazard circle, top it with a heap of the season’s best fruit (lightly sweetened, casually spiced), flop over the ragged edges, and bake something wildly fragrant, bubbly, and downright gorgeous.Because I’m somewhat obsessed about making the most of my fire and the lingering heat that a bed of embers provides, lately I’ve been baking galettes on the grill. I love how a chimney of charcoal can carry you through cocktails (see charred citrus margaritas) to dinner to dessert. It’s easier than it sounds, particularly when you think about working your grill as an oven (e.g. grill-roasted chicken). Just as a chicken benefits from the unique “charred” flavor of charcoal, so do fruit and pastry. The first time I grill-baked this tart, I slid the parchment onto a pizza stone. I should have realized that the concentrated heat would blacken the bottom of the crust before the fruit had time to cook—and it did. Now I drape the pastry into a lavishly buttered cast-iron skillet or enamel-coated baking dish, and the results are perfect (with the added bonus of not heating up my kitchen).When the berry conga line of summer transitions to fall, it’s apples that capture my attention—particularly thin-skinned varieties like Pink Lady that don’t need peeling (their skins have a snappy cider flavor). I’ve loved the combination of black pepper and pastry since I bit into the pepper-flecked flaky apple tart at Poilâine in Paris. The subtle warmth shoots through the buttery crust (and caramel sweetness of the fruit) like a swallow of Cognac on a winter day. Here I use pink peppercorns, which have a more delicate floral flavor. There’s no shame in embracing the color motif (what’s life without whimsy?) so in addition to those Pink Lady apples I also use Himalayan pink salt, but feel free to swap in another sweet-tart fall apple variety and your favorite fancy salt.