Thanksgiving Feast Finale: The Perfect Pie

Air Date:
Heard On The Morning Show
Kate McDermott Art of the Pie Book Baker
Photo courtesy of Kate McDermott

A Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without pie! Beautiful flaky crusts surround scrumptious fillings to provide the final elements of a feast. Our guest literally wrote the book on pie. She offers suggestions and answers questions on a quest to make the perfect pie for your holiday gathering.

What is your favorite pie? Why do you love it so much? Does the taste keep you coming back? Maybe it’s more about the memory than the flavor itself. Tell us your story about pie as we talk together on Thanksgiving morning. Email, post on the Ideas Network Facebook page, or tweet @wprmornings. You can call 800-642-1234 during the show.

Featured in this Show

  • 'Piechiatrist' Shares Some Of Her Pie-Making Secrets

    Kate McDermott is a premier authority on pie — a “piechiatrist,” as she puts it.

    McDermott doesn’t just bake pies; she leads boot camps on how to bake them at her “Pie Cottage” in Seattle.

    Although she would never call herself a perfectionist — pies turn out how they’re mean to turn out, in McDermott’s mind — she has some serious pie-making tricks up her sleeve. McDermott joined “The Morning Show” on Thanksgiving day to share some of her secrets:

    Know your oven

    Every oven is different and knowing an oven’s quirks is essential to having a well-made pie, she said. Many ovens are off by 50, 75 or even 100 degrees. So, bakers should make sure to use an oven thermometer to check that they’re baking everything at the proper temperature, McDermott said.

    You should also know which spots in an oven are hotter or colder. And if your oven has a window, be sure to make use of it, she said. If not, grab oven mitts or a pot holder and very quickly open the oven door every once and a while to check if one needs to rotate the pie or move it to a different rack.

    “It’s like life — we have to adjust constantly!” she said.

    Keep it cold

    Keeping your ingredients chilly is crucial because if your fats melt and cover all the flour, the dough will be incapable of taking in enough water to steam the pie, McDermott said.

    She puts her flour in the freezer, her fats (butter, lard, oil) in the fridge and the bowl that she’s working in in the freezer. If the kitchen is hot or if it’s hot outside, she uses two bowls — one larger bowl with ice in it, then a smaller bowl with the dough that goes inside the larger bowl. McDermott even recommends holding ice or an icepack in your hands before working with dough.

    “Butter starts melting at 59 degrees, and our hands are usually in the 90s,” she said.

    You’ll also want to make sure that when you’re rolling out your dough, you’re not rolling it directly on the counter. Instead, roll it on a piece of wax or parchment paper, pastry cloth or plastic wrap so you can move the dough when necessary and it doesn’t stick to the surface you’re rolling it out on.

    Don’t limit yourself to pecan and pumpkin

    “You can put pretty much anything between a bottom crust and a top crust. Whatever you can imagine, you can do that,” McDermott said. And she does — leftovers, root vegetables — you name it.

    Forget the same old, cold, next-day turkey sandwiches. Put a Thanksgiving-style twist on chicken pot pie with Turkey Day’s leftover turkey and vegetables.

    Don’t worry too much

    Intimidated by the thought of making your own crust? Get store-bought crust, McDermott said. Worried about not being able to perfectly replicate grandma’s famous chess pie recipe? Forget it. Switch it up and make something new. Ugly crust? Who cares, she said.

    “Pie can be anything. Pie is very adaptable, very forgiving. (Your pie) may not look like the ones that we see in glossy magazines … (but) if you want it in a round pan, great. If you want to be pie-r-squared and do it in a cake pan, great,” McDermott said. “Do it your own way and make it delicious.”

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Kealey Bultena Producer
  • Kate McDermott Guest

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