How to fake a homemade pie

Nov 25, 2013 at 4:44 p.m. ET

With the holidays approaching, one thing is on everyone's mind — food. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the most food-centric holidays, which means lots of preparation for those hosting the gatherings. One course that has become a holiday staple is the pie, but baking a pie might not fit into your busy schedule. Don't worry! By following these tips, you can save some time and trick everyone into thinking you're a pie pro.

Woman baking a pie

A frozen or store-bought pie could be the solution to your holiday stress; they're delicious and look homemade! Our pie expert, Christine Hall, vice president of research quality and innovation for frozen and grocery at ConAgra Foods, shares her tips for serving the perfect pie this holiday season. And what makes her an expert? Part of her job is tasting the apples that go into Marie Callender's pies. (Where do we sign up?) 

"Buying a store-bought pie is a great option for the holiday season, because then you can spend more time with your family, enjoying their company and fun activities."

Marie Callender's Pie

Store-bought pies, like Marie Callender's, take special care to make the pie look and taste homemade, Hall says. By using fresh Fuji apples from California and Washington, hand-picked Marion blackberries, Montmorency cherries, whole eggs, pure cane sugar and premium cinnamon, the pie will taste like you made it from scratch. "We hand-stretch the lattice on our lattice pies, hand-peak meringue on lemon meringue pies and gently place chocolate curls on cream pies," Hall says. "Making a fruit pie from scratch can take two to three hours of precious time. When you buy a frozen or store-bought pie, you can save time and still enjoy a homemade-tasting pie with special touches."

"Even though you didn't make the pie, you can rest assured that we put a lot of hand touches and care into each pie."

With just a little more effort, you can add some homey touches to your pie.

"Drizzling glaze and sprinkling almond slices on top of a cherry pie makes it look homemade and extra special," Hall says. Some Marie Callender's pies even come with glaze. That's one less thing you have to make!

Adding personal touches is the perfect way to make the pie your own and ready to serve to your loved ones.

Picking the perfect pie for each holiday:

  • Pumpkin and Lattice Apple — Thanksgiving
  • Razzleberry and Dutch Apple — Christmas
  • Chocolate Satin and Cherry Crunch — Valentine's Day
  • Coconut Cream and Lemon Meringue — Easter
  • Key Lime and Cherry Lattice — Fourth of July
  • Banana Cream — Labor Day

Hall recommends using "miniature cookie cutters and pie dough to decorate the pie with seasonally themed shapes. For Thanksgiving, use little pumpkins or leaf shapes. Holly leaves are great for Christmas. Hearts say love on Valentine's Day. And stars on a cherry pie remind me of fireworks on the Fourth of July. Add the dough pieces to your pie before baking. A little milk can help them adhere. If you are serving a Dutch or Crunch pie, you could overlap the pieces on top of the crimp. If you are serving a double-crust pie, you could add them on top of the crimp and randomly place them on top of the pie."

You can never have too much pie, so stock up this year.

"Pie is a great way to complete a special meal. I like to have more than one flavor on hand, so that everyone can have their favorite."

Delicious pies are a guaranteed way to please your loved ones. This holiday season, pick one up from the grocery store and follow these steps to serve it, tricking everyone into thinking you're a baking queen. Don't worry, we won't tell anyone!

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