Plan Your Holiday Pies!

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is time to start making out menus and deciding on which pie recipes to use. As you cook for Thanksgiving, remember ‘Buy Local’ produce whenever possible!! All of these recipes are traditional favorites with a slightly lighter twist!! The recipes promise not to skimp on flavor!

Speaking of Pies, don’t miss the “Oh My Gourd” Pie Baking Contest, Saturday, November 20, at the Lenoir County Farmers Market!!  Entries will be accepted between 10 a.m. and noon, judging will be held at noon and winners will be announced at 1 p.m. The only rule is that the primary ingredient must be some type of gourd. This is a broad category, for starters, there are numerous varieties of gourds, but this also includes any type of squash or pumpkin!! Be creative and bring us your favorite recipe!! Did I mention that the Grand Prize is $100?  For additional information contact Kelly Tyndall, Family and Consumer Agent, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Lenoir County Center, 252-527-2191.

Hope you will enjoy one of these pies this Holiday!! Several of these have make your own crust recipes, you may certainly substitute a pre-made crust instead.

Sweet Potato Pie with Whipped Topping


  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 c. fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust, or make your own
  • 2 cups fat-free prepared whipped topping


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour enough water over them to cover. Set saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Purée just until smooth (or press through a fine-mesh strainer). Measure 1 1/3 cups of the purée and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine egg substitute and sugar. Whisk in next 6 ingredients. Press piecrust into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Pinch around rim to make a decorative edge. Pour mixture into prepared pie pan and bake 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and bake 30 more minutes, until center is set but still slightly quivery. Cool on a wire rack, slice into 8 pieces, and top with nonfat whipped topping.

Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8 sheets honey graham crackers
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 12-ounces one-third less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup low-fat 2-percent Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


  1. Position the oven racks in the center and lower third of your oven. Fill a roasting pan about half full with water and place on the lower rack. This will create a moist environment for the cheesecake and help prevent cracking. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Put the graham crackers and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until fine. Add the butter and 2 tablespoons water and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until set and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the yogurt, eggs, and egg whites, reduce the mixer speed to low, and continue to beat until blended. Add the pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat until just combined. Stir with a spatula a few times to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated and to release any air bubbles in the batter that could cause the cheesecake to crack.
  4. Pour the batter over the crust and rap the pan against the countertop a few times to bring any trapped air bubbles to the surface. Place the cheesecake on the center rack in the oven. Bake until just set and the center wiggles slightly, 50 to 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the door open. Let sit in the oven for 15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Run a thin sharp knife between the cheesecake and the pan to release the sides. Cool completely, and then chill until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Before serving, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and release the sides of the pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature, 30 to 60 minutes. If the top of the cake appears wet, blot with a paper towel to dry. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar.

Mississippi Mud Pie



  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup ice water
  • Cooking spray


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • ⅓ cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt


  1. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon 4.5 ounces (about 1 cup) flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 4.5 ounces flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until blended. Add shortening and chilled butter; pulse 6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly pour ice water through food chute, processing just until blended (do not allow dough to form a ball); remove from bowl. Gently press mixture into a 4-inch circle; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Unwrap and place chilled dough on plastic wrap. Lightly sprinkle dough with flour; roll to a 10-inch circle. Fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Fold edges under, and flute.
  4. To prepare filling, place 3 tablespoons butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 30 seconds or until butter and chocolate melt, stirring well to combine. Place vanilla and egg whites in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar; beat until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Gently fold melted chocolate mixture into egg white mixture.
  5. Weigh or lightly spoon 3.4 ounces flour and 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and a dash of salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Fold flour mixture into egg white mixture. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Classic Pecan Pie



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted
  • Cooking spray


  • 1 large egg
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup light or dark-colored corn syrup
  • ⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add milk and butter; toss with a fork until moist.
  2. Press mixture gently into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, to an 11-inch circle. Freeze 10 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.
  3. Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Fold edges under; flute.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. To prepare the filling, beat the egg and the next 4 ingredients (egg through ¼ teaspoon salt) at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Stir in the pecan halves and the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Bake the pie at 350°F for 20 minutes, then cover with foil. Bake the pie an additional 20 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool pie on a wire rack.