Baking is not my forté. I’ve ripped up enough pie crusts over the years to realize that I ought to stick to roasting poultry and braising meats.

Throughout the year, I make a small repertoire of desserts: blueberry betty (basically blueberries with a brown sugar/butter/flour crumble on top), sliced berries with freshly made whipped cream and store-bought angel food cake, and Nestle Tollhouse cookies following the recipe on the chocolate chip bag.

I’ve made multi-layered chocolate cakes from scratch. I’ve made countless batches of banana bread. Heck, I even made my wedding cake — a beautiful, gigantic coconut cake. But I can’t say I enjoy baking all that much. Perhaps it’s because I prefer savory to sweet. A slow-cooked chunk of meat is way more satisfying to me than a huge slice of sweet cake.

For Thanksgiving, despite my disdain for dessert, I always make some pie. Pumpkin chiffon pie and pecan pie, to be exact. Most of the time, I’ll throw some chocolate into the pecans and make a chocolate pecan pie too. It’s a basic collection of desserts, but they’re still a delicious end to the feast. And now that I’ve discovered Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Crust (using vodka, no less), I’ve been making my own crusts instead of using the store-bought frozen ones (which are always good in a pinch).

So what do you do for desserts? Do you make your own or do you order out?

Here’s my pumpkin chiffon pie recipe. It’s from my mom, and where she got it, I’ll never know. The beauty of chiffon pies is the lightness, which comes from the beaten egg whites. I always use freshly ground nutmeg, and this year, I’ve bought fresh pumpkins and will be making my own purée instead of using canned.


1 env. Unflavored Gelatin
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Sugar
3 Eggs, separated
1/2 c. Milk
1 1/4 c. Pumpkin (canned)
Baked Pie Shell

1) In double boiler, mix first five ingredients (gelatin to sugar)
2) In small bowl whisk 3 egg yolks and 1/2 cup milk. Stir into gelatin mixture.
3) Add 1 1/4 c. pumpkin
4) Cook over boiling water for 20 minutes or until thickened. Refrigerate until cool (not set!).
5) Beat 3 egg whites into soft peaks, gradually add 1/4 c. sugar.
6) Fold in pumpkin mixture with wire whisk.
7) Pour into baked crust. Refrigerate.
8) Serve topped with whipped cream.

Next: where to order your Thanksgiving desserts