Summer is winding down and that means it’s time for the comfort foods of fall, which includes tasty pies such as pecan, pumpkin and caramel apple. (Cathi Litzenberger photo)

It’s time to fall for fresh-baked pies

Pumpkin, apple, cherry and pecan are just a few of the favourite pies waiting to be enjoyed

Cathi Litzenberger

Morning Star Columnist

September is slipping away and today as I write, my office is only at 13 degrees! Could it be that I need the heat on already? Before we know it, it will be time to prepare for Thanksgiving.

I love the fall for settling back into some sort of routine, with comfort foods and all the goodness of fall fruits and veggies.

This is the perfect time to put together a variety of your favourite pies to freeze unbaked. Then throughout the cold winter, all you’ll have to do is pop one into the oven for a wonderful ambience in the house and a delicious dessert without any effort.

For Thanksgiving I want a variety of pies — two to one of pumpkin, then an apple, maybe a pecan, a lemon and perhaps a sour cherry. My favourite is huckleberry pie, but this year I never managed to pick any. So sad!

Caramel Apple Pie

1 favourite pie pastry recipe

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 cups thinly sliced peeled apples

1/2 cup caramel apple dip

2 tablespoons milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

Heat oven to 375 F.

Make pie crusts as directed, using 9-inch glass pie plate.

In large bowl, mix granulated sugar, 1/4 cup flour and the cinnamon. Add apples; toss to coat. Spoon apple mixture into crust-lined plate.

In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons caramel apple dip and the milk; drizzle over apples.

In medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour and the brown sugar. With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling.

To make lattice top, cut second crust into 1/2-inch-wide strips with pastry cutter. Place half of the strips across filling in pie plate. Weave remaining strips with first strips to form lattice. Trim ends of strips even with edge of bottom crust. Fold trimmed edge of bottom crust over ends of strips, forming a high stand-up rim. Seal and flute.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.

Drizzle remaining caramel apple dip over pie. Cool at least 2 hours before serving.

PrizeWinning Pumpkin Pie

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée

3 egg yolks

1 large egg

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1- 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Whisk together pumpkin purée, egg yolks and egg in a large bowl until smooth.

Add sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg and cloves; whisk until thoroughly combined.

Fit pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp edges. Pour filling into the pie shell and lightly tap on the work surface to release any air bubbles.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake until just set in the middle, 30 to 40 more minutes. A paring knife inserted into the filling, 1 inch from the crust, should come out clean.

Allow to cool completely before serving. Serve with whipping cream.

Pecan Pie

1-3/4 cups white sugar

1/4 cup dark corn syrup

1/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon cold water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

3 eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups chopped pecans

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, water and cornstarch. Bring to a full boil, and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in cooked syrup mixture. Stir in salt, vanilla and pecans.

Pour into pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until filling is set.

Cherry Pie

1 pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

2- 1/2 cups pitted sour cherries

3/4 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry.

Mix the sugar, flour and salt; toss with the cherries, mixing well. Pour the cherry filling into the pie shell, and dot with butter.

Weave strips of pastry into a lattice top. Place the pie on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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