Holiday Pies and Tarts
This easy pecan pie tastes of dark caramel, toasted nuts and a little bit of bourbon. Cheryl Day designed the recipe to work with a range of less-refined sweeteners, from honey to cane syrup. The supereasy press-in crust means you don’t even need a rolling pin.
Pumpkin Hand Pies
These delicious pumpkin hand pies are easy to make and fun to eat. According to Andrew Zimmern, the dough is so simple and forgiving that his 9-year-old helps him make it.
Sweet-Potato Pie with Cornmeal Crust
Tara Jensen makes remarkable pies like this one with vegetables she grows herself.
Pumpkin-and-White Chocolate Mousse Pie
This reimagined pumpkin pie from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco has an ethereal pumpkin-and-white-chocolate-mousse filling and a stellar, crunchy crust.
Mountain Rose Apple Pie
Rebecca Masson of Houston’s Fluff Bake Bar tops her dense and delicious apple pie with a thick layer of crisp, buttery crumble.
Buttermilk Eggnog Pie
TV chef Carla Hall flavors her Southern buttermilk pie with rum and lots of nutmeg, which evoke the flavors of eggnog.
Salted Caramel Pie
The filling is sweetened condensed milk sprinkled lightly with sea salt and baked until thick and gooey, then chilled in a simple graham cracker crust.
Key Lime Pie with Chocolate-Almond Crust
“I’ve learned how to bake without proper tools but nothing replaces the Microplane for doing things like grating lime zest,” says teen blogger and dessert aficionado, Elissa Bernstein.
Hand Pies with Pear and Rutabaga
These hand pies are a curious cross between sweet and savory, featuring rutabaga, a delicious winter root vegetable that is so often overlooked. Combined with the classic pairing of pear and ginger and enclosed by light and nutritious whole spelt pockets, the pies will make an excellent snack, dessert or even side dish.
Coconut Custard Pie
Andrew Zimmern calls this the best coconut pie of its kind—not too fancy, not complicated—and it tastes like someone’s mother made it.
Butterscotch Mousse Pie
This pie is a creamy, decadent holiday show-stopper. With a butterscotch pie base topped with a homemade vanilla cream, all you'll hear around your holiday table will be sighs of dessert-filled satisfaction.
Prune Custard Tart
This creamy, fruity, elegant Christmas dessert was inspired partly by Gabriel Kreuther’s grandfather, a farmer who used to grow plums and dry them for homemade tarts.
This outrageously elegant tart is from Alain Ducasse’s Manhattan restaurant Benoit.
Lemon Curd Tart with Pecan-Citrus Sauce
In this clever variation of Key lime pie, Michael Mina replaces the usual lime curd with lemon and the typical graham cracker crust with a cinnamon-pecan cookie crust.
Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel
Instead of apple pie, Shawn McClain ends his holiday dinner with this stunning tarte Tatin. Because the recipe calls for store-bought puff pastry (McClain is a huge fan of Dufour’s), it’s quite easy to prepare.
Brown Butter-Cranberry Tart
This is a terrific cross between a tart and a cake; it has a crisp, delicate crust as well as a cakey filling made with nutty browned butter and vanilla bean. Pastry chef Katherine Thompson serves it all year-round with different toppings, but for the holidays, she loves to pile on fresh cranberries.
Double-Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
This incredibly chocolaty and creamy quick-bake pie is Vitaly Paley’s grown-up version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Frankies co-owner Frank Castronovo’s wife, Heike, a talented home baker, created Prime Meats’ outstanding jam tart with cocoa-flavored pastry. “If she entered it in a country fair in her hometown in Germany, she’d win a blue ribbon,” says Frank Falcinelli. “But she has an unfair advantage, since her father is a professional baker in Freiburg, Germany.”
Not Your Usual Lemon Meringue Pie
In her version of lemon meringue pie, Gale Gand forgoes a traditional crust for quick-baked sheets of sugared phyllo dough, which she layers with house-made lemon curd and a brown-sugar meringue.
Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Coffee Mascarpone Cream
The winning Italian combination of chocolate, mascarpone and coffee in tiramisù inspired this silky tart from French-born François Payard.
Flaky Blood Orange Tart
Pastry chef Zoe Nathan’s stunning yet simple crostata, which uses juicy blood oranges at their peak, is nothing but sweet-tart oranges and a bit of sugar on a flaky, buttery crust.
Milk-Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust
This dessert from pastry chef Colleen Grapes, a tribute to the chocolate-covered pretzel, hits just the right salty-sweet note. Grapes mixes crushed pretzels with flour, butter, sugar and egg to make a crunchy crust, pours in a luxurious milk-chocolate filling, then sprinkles on more crushed pretzels as a garnish.
Poached Pear and Brown Butter Tart
Chef John Besh says he is crazy about winter fruit and loves using it in this brown butter-custard tart. He sometimes swaps the pears for apples or even quince.
Chilled Grapefruit-Caramel Meringue Pie
Most pastry chefs love lemon and orange. Deborah Snyder, however, champions the also-ran of the citrus world: grapefruit. In one cold, creamy dessert, she layers pink grapefruit curd in a crunchy graham-cracker crust with caramel sauce and a delicate topping of fluffy meringue.
Lattice-Topped Apple Pie
Greg Patent likes to use an assortment of tart and sweet apples in this dense, apple-packed pie. Some varieties to look for are Greening, Cortland, Winesap, Braeburn, Jonamac and Granny Smith.
Honeyed Fig Crostatas
Forget the figgy pudding; for your holiday bash this year make these party-perfect fig crostatas and your guests will surely think the world a merry and bright place.
Granny Smith Apple and Brown Butter Custard Tart
Kate Neumann often showcases rich, nutty, fragrant browned butter in her desserts. Here, she adds it to a sweet custard loaded with caramelized apples and baked in a buttery tart shell.