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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Image: Rebecca Mongrain/Seattle Refined)

Thanksgiving Pie Tips from a Local Pie Expert

Thanksgiving is days away and bakers everywhere are rolling up their sleeves to bake lots and lots of pie. Seattle Refined recently reached out to Pie Expert and Author of “Art of the Pie”, Kate McDermott for a few Thanksgiving Day pie tips.

McDermott started The Art of the Pie to share her joy of pie making and to pass along her knowledge of the craft.

“Pie making is a craft that has been passed down for generations and it’s much easier than folks think,” said McDermott. “Plus there is nothing like sharing a homemade pie, fresh from the oven, with friends and family.”

McDermott started baking as a child but her true passion for pie didn’t come to fruition until 2005 when she began a two-year exploration of pie crust. She experimented with different flours, fats, rations and recipes before settling on what she believes to be the very best pie crust recipe. She took the results of her experiments and began teaching people how to make the perfect pie through her classes in both Seattle and Port Angeles, WA at

Pie almost always starts with the crust and keeping the ingredients chilled is McDermott’s top tip.

“Keep everything chilled, especially yourself,” she said. “Be mindful of the temperature of your hands, the kitchen, and the fats when working with dough. Wait to preheat the oven until after you have finished working with the dough. An extra chill time in the fridge is nice if possible to chill the fats back up. And always bake with love!”

When asked about pie makers biggest mistakes, McDermott graciously answered, “In my opinion, there are no mistakes in pie making but plenty of creative outcomes.”

She advises pie makers to let go of the perfectly styled pies that fill magazine pages and welcome a, “perfectly, imperfect pie” into their kitchen.

For pie makers looking to enrich their pie knowledge, McDermott’s new book, “Art of the Pie” is packed full of information on pies and includes over a dozen crust recipes, including vegan and gluten-free options along with fillings ranging from the classics—apple, pumpkin, lemon meringue—to exotic flavors like gooseberry and chai—to savory fillings like Italian nettle sausage and big clam.

McDermott’s love of pie is evident in everything she does from her pie classes to her book and blog.

“Pie has endless variations on a theme of a filling placed in a pastry shell and either topped or not with another pastry. I always learn some new tip or trick from other pie makers,” said McDermott. “I love that I am able to share something so simple with others that comes from my hands and heart.”

McDermott has graciously shared her pumpkin pie recipe from “Art of the Pie” with Seattle Refined so bakers can virtually join her at the pie counter.

Pumpkin Pie

This pie should have a slight jiggle in the middle, about the size of a silver dollar, when it comes out of the oven. It will “set up” as it cools.

Makes one 9-inch shallow pie


  • 1 recipe single-crust pie dough
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • One 15-ounce can (about 2 cups or 245 grams) pumpkin
  • 1 cup canned lite coconut milk or evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar (equal parts white and packed brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon (.25 gram) freshly ground nutmeg
  • A tiny pinch of ground clove


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).
  2. Roll out a pie shell and place it in a pie pan. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until they are light-colored and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin, coconut milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Pour the filling into the pan. Place the pie in the oven and turn down immediately to 375F. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
  5. Remove the pie from the oven and set on a rack to cool completely.