Pies for Christmas and Thanksgiving Family Dinners

by blackspanielgallery

Pies are perhaps the easiest food to bring to a family dinner. Many pies can be kept at room temperature for long travel, and can add delight to the meal. Pies are tasty.

Pies are fun food items, and whoever brings one or more scrumptious pies is likely to be asked to repeat in the future. And, you will have taken on a major role in making the occasion festive.

Every holiday season families come together, and the focus of those gatherings is usually a family meal. And, it is customary in many families to have everyone bring something to those dinners. The burden of all of the work, and the bearing of all of the expense, should not fall on the host and hostess. But what should one bring to help with the dinner? Pies avoid several problems.

The Advantages of Pies

One problem is space for warming the dishes.  Ovens can hold only so much, and if several people add a dish to it for warming there is likely to be a problem fitting things in.  Yet all dishes served at the same time must be heated over the same time.  Pies are eaten as dessert, so even if a pie is preferred to be served warm there is time after the other dishes are removed to place them in the oven.


Another problem is food can spoil if left at the wrong temperature too long.  This is a concern in transporting many dishes.  But, pies can be eaten warm, cooled in a refrigerator until needed, or even eaten, and for many pies left at room temperature for the day.  So safely transporting most types of pies is easier in the safety sense.


Pies are easy to transport, with less danger of spillage.  There are not small bits of food to fall from a dish as it bounces along a highway.


And, pies can be placed in throw away aluminum pie pans for the meal.  With other dishes there are often leftovers, and that either means leaving a bowl or tray behind, or wasting food that exceeds the storage containers available or the capacity of the refrigerator.  If the pie pan is a throw away it will store leftover pie just fine, and will not cause a problem of later retrieval of it.


So, if you do not have a special dish that everyone waits for, and no one else has claimed pies as what they are bringing, pie is an excellent option.   And, if there are leftovers, it is something the host and hostess are more likely to be able to finish before it goes bad.

Pies Require a Pan for Baking

Baking your own pies does require a pie pan.  I would recommend a non-stick pan.  Of course every oven is different, and different pans work better for electric ovens, gas ovens, and even convection ovens.  So, some people will prefer a glass pie pan or a ceramic pie pan.  What works best in your oven is what you should choose.  Of course you can bake in the aluminum pie pan, but I would think the aluminum is the most likely to heat fast and possibly burn the bottom of the pie.

Use Pie Weights

Pie weights reduce the problem of having bubbles form in the crust.  The ones shown are ceramic balls.

Bake a Couple of Pies

For this you will want a recipe for each type you will bake, unless you are already a skilled pie baker.  What you should not do is find frozen pies at the supermarket.  That simply will not do.  And, you must decide whether or not you will prepare the crust from scratch, which is the best option. 


Pie recipes are easily found online.  Look at the website here and find a multitude of pie recipes.  


There are pies by type.  You probably would want the fruit pies or the vintage pies, but custard pies and others are also shown, just watch if refrigeration is needed.  The fruit pies covered include well over one hundred recipes. 


Or, you can get a cookbook that is concentrated on pies.


It is best to use fresh ingredients, but during the fall and early winter many types of fruit can be found.  Perhaps apple and cheery would make nice pies.  But, pumpkin is another nice choice.  

Transporting a Pie

The warm pie exudes an aroma that is part of the experience of partaking of it.  So, if the pie can arrive and still be warm when taken out the aroma will spread throughout the room.  To transport a pie while it is warm requires a special insulated carrier.  And, if the pie has been transferred to an aluminum pan, it will have also been loosened from the pan in which it was baked, making serving easier.

Trivets Save Surfaces

A pan that is too warm might harm the furniture, so if the pie is to be served warm bring a trivet for each pie.  These can be taken home when you leave, along with your pie carrier.


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Updated: 12/04/2019, blackspanielgallery
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Veronica on 08/27/2015

Anglo -Norman French had an e on gaole. The English dropped the e so as in gaol. It became gayole. But I .... :) .... use gaol. Never jail . Jaiole is from Old French.

And as the Normans were over 1000 years ago and invaded England I think that is old enough.

frankbeswick on 08/27/2015

Whatever you fancy, but gaol is Norman-French rather than old English.

Veronica on 08/27/2015

I prefer old English spellings when possible.

Fayres always seems more traditional. I think it derives from the word "fare " which traditionally referred to an occasion where food would be sold. Fair should refer to a place of enjoyment and fun. Fun Fair . So, "Fayre" is probably more technically accurate for food fayres. Fare referring here to food.

My favourite old English spelling though would be "gaol " for jail . I always use "gaol" if I write the word.

dustytoes on 08/26/2015

I love that spelling of fayres! I love pies too, and have a pie basket made by a local basket company here in New Hampshire. It has a stand so I could carry 2 pies - if I had someplace to go with 2 home-baked pies.

frankbeswick on 08/25/2015

Fayres [fairs] Mira, are commonest in Spring and Summer, but there are some in Autumn and winter. Try typing food festivals into your search engine. You can also search out country shows and flower shows. The Royal Horticultural Society has several shows in London. Often at all shows there will be food section where vendors will sell off the foods that they produce.

blackspanielgallery on 08/24/2015

What I like best is to eat the pies.

Veronica on 08/24/2015


Thank you for your article.

Mira, maybe ... you should make some pies to sell at the foodfayres and farmers' markets :) Start a trend thanks to Black Spaniel.

blackspanielgallery on 08/22/2015

Wow, I went out for a few hours and found some interesting conversations going on here. You are all welcome to continue to interact with each other. And thank every one of you for visiting.

Mira on 08/22/2015

I love them too. We also get fresh produce, cheeses, preserves . . . and some pastries, but no pies.

Veronica on 08/22/2015

I love the food fayres and farmers' markets . Speciality cheeses, pies, sauces, jams and jellies.

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