Bittens, it's pie time!
Hundreds of you signed up and completed the Thanksgiving 2016 Pie Challenge -- we have loved reading your reviews and seeing your photos!
For those of you catching up: A few weeks ago, we asked Bittens to sign up to bake a randomly assigned pie. We had scoured the November issues of food magazines and selected 7 pies from 7 magazines -- each with a bit of a twist on traditional Thanksgiving flavors. Readers had one week to bake and rate their pies and submit their results.
We've tallied up the responses. Below, you can review the pies ranked worst to best by the Bitten Bakers themselves. There are some real surprises in the results -- and some pies we really want to try.
To all of you bakers who participated, thank you! We hope you had a ton of fun and maybe got inspired or excited for Thanksgiving cooking. We've compiled some of your comments here Zagat-style, but we'd love for you to share more of your experience in the comments!
Let's get to it:
#7: Virginia Peanut: The “Disappointment”
From Martha Stewart Living
Bitten Bakers "loved the Pate Brisee” in this “fun twist on the traditional Pecan Pie.” But the final results are “VERY rich” and “VERY sweet.” Plus, it's “hard to find Lyle’s Golden Syrup.” One tip: “For heaven’s sake, don’t omit the cayenne. The pie needs it.” You may be happier if you "stick with your favorite pecan pie" instead.
Average Bitten Rating: 2.9 out of 5
#6: Chai Carrot: The “Meh” Pie
From Cooking Light
This recipe produces a “gorgeous color” that makes a “suitable substitute for pumpkin” with “plenty of flavor,” although some Bittens found it "meh." It may "turn carrot-haters into carrot-lovers," but reviewers disliked the “dry, tough, not flaky” crust, which some found “disastrous.” A tip: “Use Ina Garten’s Perfect Pastry” recipe or your favorite pie crust.
Average Bitten Rating: 3.3 out of 5
#5: Brown Butter Pecan with Espresso: The “Sugar-Bomb”
From Food & Wine
Bakers' favorite elements were “the dates” and “the brown butter,” but this recipe “takes a ton of work” and “expensive ingredients.” More than a few found the espresso “off-putting,” and some felt the "wonderful flavors" were "heavily masked under a sticky-gooey layer of over-sweetness." Bittens' advice: “Cut the bake time to 60 minutes” or “make the basic pecan pie on the Karo syrup bottle instead.”
Average Bitten Rating: 3.4 out of 5
#4: Lime-Coconut Custard Pie: The “Easy” Pie
From Food Network Magazine
This “quick” and “extremely easy” recipe creates a pie that is “stunning.” Detractors found that there was “not enough custard filling,” “not enough lime,” and disliked that this “doesn’t feel like a holiday pie.” If you make it, “double the custard filling,” “bump it up to 2 limes,” and "play 'You Put the Lime in the Coconut'" while baking.
Average Bitten Rating: 3.5 out of 5
#3: Sweet Potato Miso with Chocolate Sesame Crust: The “Non-traditional” Pie
From Bon Appétit
Bittens were mixed on this "unusual" and "unexpected" pie. Some loved the “incredible” chocolate sesame crust and “the puzzled look on everyone’s face when you tell them there’s miso in the sweet potato filling.” Points deducted for the “crumbly” texture of the crust, though. Best advice: “Choose your sweet potatoes carefully” to get the sweetest ones available to you.
Average Bitten Rating: 3.7 out of 5
#2: Tex-Mex Apple Pie: “Laborious” But “Worth It”
From Southern Living
Bakers were delighted by the “kick from the red pepper jelly” that gives a bit of “savory to cut through the sweet” and “a tinge of heat." The pie is “time-intensive” but “it pays off.” If you bake it, “Set aside two days” -- there’s “lots of resting time.”
Average Bitten Rating: 3.7 out of 5
#1: Rum Pumpkin Chiffon: “The Keeper”
From Cook's Country
Reviewers loved this “non-traditional take on pumpkin pie” that brings “pure pumpkin power” with its “light and airy” chiffon and “twist” of rum. However, the recipe does have a “TON of steps” and calls for “so many kitchen gadgets.” We got a chuckle from this comment: “Classic America’s Test Kitchen -- every bowl in my kitchen has been used!” If you make it, “plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time” and “make it the morning of the day you plan to serve it -- after a day or so the crust started to become soggy.”
Average Bitten Rating: 3.9 out of 5
So that's it! A Macy's-Thanksgiving-Day-Parade-float-sized thank-you to all of you awesome Bitten Bakers who participated. As we said above, please leave any other thoughts or input you have in the comments!
And the rest of you: What's your take? Which pie from this list would you make for a holiday gathering? Let's us know!