A festive pie makes the perfect ending to any holiday banquet. Each of these baked dishes wows with a special topping—from marshmallows to a pretty lattice crust. And each recipe makes one nine-inch pie, about eight servings, unless otherwise noted.

Pear-Cranberry Lattice Pie 

This pretty pie is a delightfully colorful mixture of tart (cranberries) and sweet (pears). Cooked Bosc or Anjou pears keep their shape and won’t get mushy. 

½ cup sugar
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
5 Bosc or Anjou pears (1½ pounds)
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) cranberries
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon water
2 store-bought (refrigerated) or homemade piecrusts 
1 Tablespoon sparkling* or coarse sugar, optional

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and juice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Peel, core and coarsely chop pears. Stir pears and cranberries into sugar mixture, tossing to coat and set aside. Whisk egg and water in a small bowl, and set aside. 

Fit one piecrust in a nine-inch deep-dish pie plate. (Note: Standard pie plates are about one-inch to one-and-a-quarter-inches deep.) Cut the other piecrust into ¾-inch strips. On a silicone baking mat, parchment or foil, weave piecrust strips into a lattice pattern, pressing together where strips cross. (For tips, see this video at Epicurious.com/archive/howtocook/primers/lattice-top-pie.) 

Spoon pear-and-cranberry mixture into piecrust, and brush the edge of the bottom crust with egg mixture. Carefully flip lattice strips on top of filling. Seal and crimp edges. Brush egg mixture over lattice top, and sprinkle with sugar. 

Place pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (to prevent drips on the bottom of the oven) and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F, and bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes until filling is hot and bubbly and top is golden brown. Shield edges with foil if browning too quickly. Cool completely on a wire rack. 

Dutch Apple Crumble Pie 

Jazz up a traditional crumble pie with rolled oats, which have a satisfying crunch. Choose a tart apple to balance the sweetness. I recommend Granny Smith—its bite mellows with a bit of sugar—or try Jonagold, Honeycrisp or Braeburn. 

1 cup sugar, divided in half
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 pounds (5 or 6 medium) baking apples 
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 homemade or store-bought (refrigerated) piecrust
Vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine one-half cup of the sugar, cornstarch, zest and nutmeg in a large bowl, stirring until well-blended. Peel, core and slice apples. Add apples and lemon juice to sugar mixture, tossing to coat. Set aside.

Combine remaining one-half cup sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly and blended. Fit piecrust into a nine-inch-deep dish (one-and-a-half-to-two-inches-deep) pie plate.

Crimp or decoratively pinch edges, if desired. Spoon apple mixture into crust. Sprinkle with oat mixture. 

Bake 15 minutes at 400°F. Reduce heat to 350°F, and bake an additional 30 minutes until filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown. 

Cool the pie completely before cutting and serving. Pie may be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Warm entire pie, uncovered, in a 200°F oven for 20 minutes or until heated (but not bubbling hot). 

Sweet Potato Pie with Mini Marshmallows

What more could you want from a sweet potato pie than a little gooey goodness on top? 

2 large sweet potatoes (1½ pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
¼ teaspoon cloves (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
1 homemade or store-bought (refrigerated) piecrust
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1½ cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 400°F. Boil sweet potatoes in water for 15 minutes or until soft. If desired, add one-quarter teaspoon of cloves and two cinnamon sticks to the water for taste. Drain.

Meanwhile, fit pastry into a nine-inch pie plate. Crimp or decoratively pinch edges, if desired. Line with parchment or foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 10 minutes. Remove parchment and weights, and bake five minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven, and reduce heat to 350°F. 

Combine sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, molasses, ground cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed. Increase to high, and beat until smooth. Add eggs, and beat until smooth. Pour into partially baked piecrust.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes until firm. If making a day ahead, cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Before serving, sprinkle top evenly with marshmallows. Broil two to three minutes until top is brown. 

Marbled Pumpkin–Cream Cheese Pie

Pumpkin pie makes an appearance at many Thanksgiving tables, and this version will start new traditions, blending cheesecake’s rich sweetness and pumpkin’s hearty flavor. 

30 gingersnap cookies
1 cup sugar, divided
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
¼ cup milk
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cookies in a food processor, and pulse until finely ground. The mixture should yield one-and-a-half cups. Add one-quarter cup of the sugar and butter, pulse until well-blended. Press crumb mixture into a nine-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake 12 minutes. 

Combine cream cheese and remaining three-quarters cup of sugar in a large bowl. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs, milk, flour, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside one-half cup of the cream cheese mixture. 

Stir pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into the cream cheese mixture until blended. Pour into cookie crust. Dollop reserved one-half cup cream cheese mixture over top of filling. Use a knife to swirl into pumpkin filling. To create a pretty marbleizing effect, spoon a few large dollops of batter. Lots of small dollops will blend and get lost. 

Bake 50 minutes or until the center is almost firm to avoid an overbaked filling. It should wiggle just a bit and will continue cooking as it cools. The filling will firm up more in the ­refrigerator. 

Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. 

*Sparkling sugar is coarse-grained and creates a glittery effect on baked goods. You can buy it at grocery stores.

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