Have to make a pie for a holiday or special occasion and don't have time? No problem. Here's how to take a store-bought pie and doctor it up to make it look and taste homemade.
Start with a good-quality store-bought pie. Even supermarket bakeries have great pies these days. I would just try to look for one that doesn't have a frozen crust. That too-perfect, cookie-cutter imprinted crimping is a dead giveaway that the pie isn't homemade.
Then all you have to do is get creative with toppings. Here are 13 great ideas:
Pour 2 cups of cold heavy cream into a chilled glass or stainless steel bowl (it has to be heavy cream; half and half or light cream won't have enough fat in it to whip properly). Beat with an electric mixer or wire whisk until it is almost the consistency of whipped cream. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup. Continue beating until the mixture becomes the consistency of whipped cream. Spoon over the pie and dust with ground cinnamon.
2. Cinnamon Spice Whipped Cream - Stir 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves into store-bought whipped cream. Spoon over pumpkin pie, apple pie or pecan pie.
3. Caramel Sauce - Drizzle a good-quality store-bought caramel sauce (compare prices) over apple pie.
4. Chocolate Sauce - Drizzle store-bought or homemade chocolate sauce over pumpkin pie, pecan pie or apple pie.
5. Spiced Pecans - Sprinkle spiced pecans over apple pie or pumpkin pie.
6. Toasted Caramel Walnuts - Spread 1 cup of chopped walnuts onto a jellyroll pan (compare prices) or a cookie sheet that has sides.
Toast in a 350-degree oven for 5-7 minutes, stirring several times, until golden brown. Watch the nuts carefully! They can burn easily.
Bring 1 cup of pure maple syrup to boil over medium heat. Let the syrup boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, 1/3 cup cream, the walnuts and 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract.
7. Coconut Pecan Topping - Mix 6 tablespoons melted butter with 1/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut and 1/4 cup half-and-half. Sprinkle over pumpkin or chocolate pie and broil for 3 minutes until golden.
8. Sour Cream Topping - Whisk together 1-1/2 cups sour cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until smooth. Spoon over pumpkin pie, and bake for 5 minutes at 350 F.
9. Chocolate Cookie Topping - Spread store-bought or homemade whipped cream over pumpkin pie, pecan pie or chocolate pudding pie. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies.
10. Chopped Peanuts and Caramel Sauce - Stir 2 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts into 1 cup store-bought caramel sauce. Spoon over apple pie or pumpkin pie.