With everything else that goes into preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, who’s got time to make pies from scratch? Pre-made pies are an easy way to save time and they’re almost always tasty, but there are a few things you can do to make them even better. Chefs, foodies and bakers share their tips to make your store-bought pies so good, people will think they’re homemade.
- Make an herbed caramel sauce to add a gourmet flair - Professional baker and winner of TLC’s “Cake Boss: Next Great Baker” Dana Herbert recommends adding herbs like cinnamon, rosemary, ginger or cardamom to warm caramel sauce and serving it over your ready-made pie.
- Take it out of its packaging - According to Alexandra Lourdes, co-owner of Saint Honore Doughnuts and Beignets, the easiest way to elevate a store-bought pie is just taking it out of the package it came in. She says once you put it in a new box or on a cake stand, no one will ever know it’s not homemade.
- Top with lemon curd - Add a dollop of lemon curd to blueberry or cherry store-bought pies to add some sourness that cuts through the sweetness, suggests Herbert.
- Melt butter on top - To give your pre-made pie homemade richness, Kevin Cabrera, executive chef at The Save Mart Companies, recommends adding melted butter. “Halfway through warming your pie, directly insert thin slices of butter into the venting slits of the pie," Cabrera explains. "This will give it a nice, moist flavor."
- Sprinkle salt on top - To balance out overly sweet pies, Carlo Lamagna, chef and owner of Magna PDX, advises adding a sprinkle of salt. Crushed salted nuts, like peanuts and cashews, will also do the trick.
- Melt cheese onto your apple pie crust - If you’re willing to take a culinary risk, Lamagna suggests melting a little cheddar cheese on the crust of an apple pie. Just don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with an oily, salty crust.
- Serve your pie with homemade whipped cream - Chef Melissa Smith says this trick always upgrades store-bought pies, and if you can pipe the whipped cream on, even better.
- You can also dust powdered sugar on top to dress it up or add bacon bits on top for a savory kick.