Thanksgiving Pies Around The US
– [Man] Thanksgiving gets crazy with my family.
– [Man 2] Thanksgiving is one of my favorites.
– [Woman] And this pie will always be there.
– [Woman 2] Nobody does it quite like we do.
– Hi, my name is Erin Van Sloten,
and today I'm gonna be making
my grandfather's recipe for blueberry tapioca pie.
Tapioca in this recipe is being used as a thickener.
Some people might use cornstarch or other ingredients,
but definitely in the Midwest, we use tapioca.
This pie, I originally heard from my grandfather.
He would make this pie every year for my dad's birthday.
He would wake up at 6 am to come
and bring this pie to my dad.
So if we're lucky enough,
we'll be able to pick fresh blueberries,
since Michigan is known for its wild blueberries,
and everyone will hoard them for the summer months,
knowing that we're gonna want them for Thanksgiving.
I just have to try one.
You have to make sure it's good first.
When I was too young to bake,
I would just sit at the kitchen table
and wait until my sister or my dad
or whoever else was making it would turn their back,
and I'd grab a few blueberries just in case.
So usually, if you have extra crust left over,
me and my sisters would take the extra crust
and cut a B out of it for my dad's name, Barry.
Or, you know, also for blueberry pie,
because my grandfather would always take the crust
and poke holes in it, so that it made his initials.
Pie is always a staple for Thanksgiving,
and it's a real tradition in my family.
Even if my sisters have all moved and I've left,
we always come back for the holidays
and we know we can gather around food
and this pie will always be there.
(upbeat music) – Mhm.
Just like how my grandfather used to make it.
(relaxed guitar music)
– Hi, my name is Bianca Lambert,
and I am cooking my Aunt Vivian's sweet potato pie.
My aunt is the only person in our family
that still bakes sweets.
She's the only person that's kind of
carried this recipe over from my grandmother,
and just kind of passed down most of the roots.
So, the way that you will know your potatoes are done,
just kinda give it a little poke or a little stab,
that's how you know that it's ready.
I grew up in Atlanta, and my parents
are from a town in Alabama called Monroeville.
So Thanksgiving, Christmas, like,
whatever holiday you can think of, we would drive down.
With my grandma, I remember,
she would always just have all this food,
and she didn't have a lot of money and all that,
but you could guarantee that
there was going to be a spread.
Everything that you ever wanted,
she knew all your favorites,
and that was her way of showing love,
and I feel like that is what
southern cooking is all about,
it's just a way to show love, and give back to your family
in a different kind of way.
I'll tell you this, I'm always looking forward to this pie
for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I might even volunteer to make
the sweet potato pie this year.
Nobody's probably gonna let me do it though,
or they'll let me do like one,
and then she'll do all the others.
Anybody makes anything good,
like if you know something's good at Thanksgiving,
it just goes, so if you don't get to that pie
before it's gone, forget about it.
Yeah, you better get it when you can.
And people, I mean, we do share,
it's very much about community,
but people like what they like,
we all know each other's favorites,
so yeah, once it's gone, that's it.
This is just one of my all-time favorites.
It's the thing I can eat, I mean,
I could eat a whole pie by myself.
So my aunt surprised me by letting me know
that she uses lemon extract in the sweet potato pie.
When she said it, I was like, is she making a mistake?
But it's been perfect for years,
so I'm sure she knows what she's talking about.
Here's the thing, I don't think anyone
can cook sweet potato pie like anybody in my family.
Nobody does it quite like we do.
But hey, to all the aunties and grandmas
and people out there, like, you guys are amazing,
and I think we're all partial to our family's cooking.
Thanksgiving for us is just like, the best time of the year.
Probably my favorite holiday,
just because it's so much about family
and food and eating and just having a good time.
It tastes so good.
My aunt's gonna be super proud.
– My name is Brenden Dahle, and today I am making
my mom's amazing pumpkin pie,
it is my favorite thing in the entire world.
My mom is always the one who makes
the pies for Thanksgiving, 100%.
We are allowed in the kitchen,
honestly everyone kinda congregates in the kitchen,
in part because it smells so good,
but also because that's where my mom is,
so they wanna talk to her and keep her company
while she makes us delicious food.
This is my grandmother's pie dough recipe.
So the whole pumpkin pie recipe is actually,
I say it's my mom's, but really, it's her mother's.
It's not super complicated in its ingredients,
but it's a very dense, spicy pie,
which I think is maybe a little more old-fashioned.
It's a very very old family recipe.
I'm from Arkansas, and I do feel like
pumpkin pie is popular there.
But there's kind of a big division.
There's pumpkin pie people and there's pecan pie people.
And we say pecan, not pee-can.
There are two distinct camps.
Honestly, my mom makes both,
but the pumpkin is like the star,
and the pecan pie is for, like, the other folks.
I don't want to imagine life without pumpkin pie.
This pumpkin pie, it is a holiday staple,
but honestly, like, I live across the country from my mom,
and our whole family is really spread apart,
so even when we go back random times during the year,
like, if I go back in April, I get pumpkin pie.
If I go back any time, I get pumpkin pie.
It's definitely the main comfort food
that like makes me feel like I'm home,
and I don't feel like I'm officially home
until I've had this pumpkin pie,
regardless of what time of year it is.
I would like to say that we like chip in,
like, oh, my mom makes the pies,
but I have an amazing casserole or something,
but I bring nothing to the table, literally.
I like Thanksgiving a lot, actually.
I love holidays, but I'm not someone
who gets really obsessive over holidays,
but for me, Thanksgiving is one of my favorites,
because it's so food-based.
Any time you have a lot of food, I'm down to be there,
so Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday,
because you know that the meal's gonna be on point.
Typically, I celebrate Thanksgiving with my mom,
and my brother Chris, if he can make it.
We don't really have that big of a family.
I'm in California, my brother's in Texas,
I have another brother in Kentucky,
and it's just been hard the last few years
to actually get everyone together,
so some years, it's just me and my mom.
Some years, it's, you know, a couple of us,
or a couple extra, some cousins here and there,
but we're a pretty small group.
Making this pie is definitely bringing back some nostalgia,
because it's actually been a couple of years
since I've gotten to go home for Thanksgiving.
I'm not sure I realized how homesick for this pie I was,
and homesick in general, so this is a nice treat.
Honestly, out of all the Thanksgiving foods,
really all holiday foods, regardless of the holiday,
this is kind of like the big one.
This is the one mainstay.
Like, on Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever,
sometimes we'll have ham instead of turkey,
or this instead of that,
but the one thing that never changes in pumpkin pie.
Oh, it even smells perfect.
It's the perfect pie, it's absolutely perfect.
– I'm Ray Pajar, and today I'm making my Thai tea pie.
When I first brought the pie out to Thanksgiving,
my family was like really surprised
that you could get Thai tea into a pie flavor,
and since then, it's just been one of those things
that my family just expects me
to bring to Thanksgiving every year.
So my sister-in-law will bring
two traditional pies, apple or pecan or strawberry,
and then I'll be in charge of the two Thai tea pies,
which usually goes by faster compared to the other pies,
since again, this is not something
that you would be able to get at your local pie store.
Thanksgiving gets family with my family,
because it's like, we're loud,
there's a lot of us, we have a family hashtag.
My last name's Pajar, so we add a TY,
so it's Pajarty, because there's so many of us
that we had a hard time getting photos
whenever we would take like a group photo
or any kind of photo during a party,
so we just made the hashtag so that
you could look it up and find the photo online.
But now, it's just become like a fun thing.
So my family came out to California in the 1980s.
The family was still relatively small.
It was just my mom, my dad, my six older half siblings,
and as the years grew, and as we all became adults,
everyone brought something to the table,
so the table just got bigger.
What was originally probably close
to a traditional Thanksgiving became something
that is pretty much just a giant Thanksgiving party.
It's like now, we can't really fit at one table,
but we'll fit into one house.
As we all get older, everyone brings something new.
So if I showed up to Thanksgiving without a pie,
specifically this Thai tea pie,
they would put me in the kitchen and make this pie.
The first year that I actually made this pie,
I made one Thai tea pie,
and then I also made an Earl Grey pie.
My family liked the Earl Grey pie,
but it just wasn't as popular compared to the Thai tea pie.
And my family's like blunt enough
that they'll be like, this was good, but it's not great,
so we'll just get two of the Thai tea pies
instead of an Earl Grey pie.
For the amount of people
that we do have over for Thanksgiving,
someone is always bound to forget something.
Since I'm traveling over there,
I don't really end up forgetting the pie or anything.
But there have been years where
we would forget, like, the (speaking foreign language),
someone would forget the rice,
someone would forget the mashed potatoes.
With big families, you have to move fast.
If you're gonna hope that someone
is gonna save you a slice of a pie,
or a piece of a cake, sucks for you,
because not everyone is gonna save that.
My favorite way to serve the Thai tea pie
is to give it a nice, healthy dollop of fresh whipped cream,
just because it ties it all together
and it looks really pretty.
I love sharing with my family, but this one is all mine.