Life Roundtable: Picking the perfect pie

This image depicts an apple pie seated on a red and black tablecloth. Apple pie is a staple at any fall event, as the apple filling and the hard crust go infinitely well together in ways that not anyone can agree upon. Photo Courtesy of Rodnae

For many, Thanksgiving celebrations mean time with family and friends, traditions and food. Seasonally available produce, such as squashes or root vegetables, and traditional dishes, such as mashed potatoes, often inspire the menu for Thanksgiving meals. One Thanksgiving staple is the quintessential pie, with classic fall flavors like pumpkin, pecan and apple. In this annual roundtable, the Life section discusses their favorite pies for Thanksgiving and year-round. 

Naiiya Patel, CC 

Chocolate pie is the clear answer. Pie lovers and pie haters can join together for this one creation. Unlike pumpkin pie, chocolate pie doesn’t need a seasonal reason to appear. Many, including myself, do not like traditional dessert pies because of the texture of warm, mushy fruit. The texture issue of other pies leads people to chocolate pie. Chocolate pie takes the best part of traditional pies — the crust — and turns it into something amazing. All year round, people gather for dessert and take a slice of this delicious treat. It’s creamy, dreamy, decadent and delicious.  

There is never a reason not to put chocolate in a dessert. For chocolate lovers, you can go all-out and use an Oreo crust filled with rich chocolate pudding, and top it with a touch of whipped cream. Buying from a bakery or deciding to go homemade will still produce a similar dessert, compared to discrepancies with other pies. A low-effort but high-quality and rewarding dessert.  

Chocolate pie is unbeatable and incomparable to other pies. Chocolate stands out beyond any sweet treat and is known as a classic; things become a classic when they are so perfect that it becomes impossible to mess up or hate. When people think of dessert, everyone thinks of chocolate. It’s ingrained into our culture, and it didn’t become a part of our culture by accident. How can we be anything but chocolate pie lovers?  

Meghan Shaw, CC 

Pie is a Thanksgiving staple for my family. You can’t beat the flaky crust and fall fillings, especially when it is topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Every year, I look forward to baking a new kind of pie with my sister, since we have a tradition of finding the most interesting or unique recipe and making it for the rest of our family.  

My personal favorite of these has been cinnamon pie, though I admit I had my doubts upon seeing exactly how much cinnamon was in the filling (about four tablespoons). Considering the amount of work that went into this pie, from making and rolling the crust to the long time it spent in the oven, my sister and I risked having a truly disgusting and labor-intensive pie to share with friends and family. However, we were not disappointed, and neither were any of the Thanksgiving attendees. It is the perfect combination of fall flavors and lies at the intersection of pie and cinnamon rolls. 

Apple, pumpkin and pecan are all classic and delicious fall pies, but it doesn’t hurt to branch out. You might find a hidden gem to accompany the more traditional Thanksgiving dishes at your table. This particular pie has absolutely earned a spot in my recipe book, and I can’t wait to make it again soon. If you are looking for a new kind of pie this year, consider a cinnamon pie! 

Harrison Raskin, Opinion Editor 

Chicken pot pie obviously stands out among all pies, not only because it is savory, but also because it has meat. But with this pie’s ingredient and flavor profile, we can still include vegetarian pot pies, which are made by omitting chicken or replacing it with a meat substitute, beans, legumes or another hearty protein.  

Savory pie is great because you can eat more of it without judgement or guilt about stacking up on sugar. Chicken pot pie is full of protein, vegetables, some fiber, healthy fats and a minimal amount of carbs — considering you’re eating a “pie.” It’s fairly nutritionally balanced, winning out against other savory pies — such as shepherds’ pie — which are mostly meat and carbs.  

Putting aside the distinction between sweet and savory, chicken (or non-chicken) pot pie ticks so many boxes of a wonderful eating experience. You’ve got the crispy, flaky pie crust on the top and sides of your dish, the more chewy protein of choice and the crunch and “pop” of carrots and peas. If the pie is made well, these will all rest undisturbed in a creamy broth, making each bite very dynamic. Compare this to pumpkin pie, which essentially has two textures: boring! 

Chicken pot pie’s flavor profile allows adding dozens of spices which would contrast with the dominant flavors in sweet pies, such as garlic, pepper, thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, oregano and even spices like cayenne or paprika. You can experience savory, sweet, crunchy, soft and far more flavors than most other pies, especially dessert ones. Chicken pot pie is just one of the most dynamic, complex pies in the game. 

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