Move over, cake: Fall is pie’s time to shine. With pumpkins and pecans aplenty, it’s no wonder that pie is the season’s most popular treat. As such, there’s no better way to celebrate this delicious dish than with a pie-sampling party where you and your friends bake and bring your favorite pies? Guests will love sharing their recipes and indulging in sweets and sips in a cozy setting — and you’ll love how easily it all comes together. Here are nine tips for a pie potluck party that’s every sweet tooth’s dream.
Bake your friends happy with mini pies.
These petite treats are an adorable use for leftover dough scraps from baking pies. To do: Roll out pre-made pie dough. Then, use a biscuit cutter (or overturned glass) to punch out circles. Place into greased muffin tins; fill with canned pumpkin pie filling. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit 15 minutes, or until edges turn golden. Top with whipped cream or small fall cookies.
Send guests home with sweet treats.
Make guests feel special with to-go tastiness. Just pick up mini pies at the grocery store, like Freshness Guaranteed 4 inch Mini Pecan Pies (Buy from Walmart, $0.74/each), and pop them in cute boxes like Censen’s Autumn Bakery Cookie Boxes (Buy from Amazon, $13.99 for 20) that offer a glimpse of the treat. Tie with a ribbon.
Set up a pie bar.
A fall pie potluck, like the one above by Mariah Leeson from Giggles Galore, wouldn’t be complete without a fun and colorful pie bar. To get the look, hang a macramé backdrop or a crocheted blanket on a blank wall. Push a table or desk against the wall. (Leeson likes a desk because you can stash utensils and more in open drawers to free up space.) Set up tiered servers and stands; top with pies. To finish, display a yellow vase filled with wheat stalks, a DIY sign, and colorful pumpkins.
Mix up a seasonal sipper.
A batch of homemade apple pie–flavored vodka is your secret to tasty cider cocktails. To make: Fill a large mason jar with sliced apples sprinkled with lemon juice. Add 2 cinnamon sticks, ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and a teaspoon of nutmeg. Pour vodka to the top of the mason jar; add lid and refrigerate 24 hours. Before the party, simmer apple cider, sliced apples, cinnamon sticks, and star anise 10 minutes; pour into clear mugs. Add 1 ounce vodka mix to each mug, stir, and serve.
Pepper in some savory snacks.
Delicious pies are the party’s focus, but a chic sampler board filled with sliced meats, cheeses, and fruit provides a flavorful contrast between bites. (Tip for a balanced board: Offer one strong-tasting cheese like blue cheese or sharp cheddar, one mild cheese like Gruyère or Gouda, and one soft, creamy cheese like Brie or goat. Then choose accompaniments to pair with each.) Start with a cutting board, then place your largest items, like wedges and wheels of cheese, at diagonals on the board. Next, fill in gaps with dried fruit, figs, cold cuts, and crackers.
Make a gourd-geous centerpiece.
Pumpkins are plentiful and wallet-friendly right now — even the fancier gourd varieties in muted hues and interesting shapes. Pick your favorite and use it as a surprising vase, doubling the wow factor on a buffet or entry table. To do: Cut a hole around the stem of the pumpkin and remove. (Hint: Don’t make the opening too large — a smaller opening gathers stems for a fuller look.) Scoop out the pumpkin’s flesh and seeds, then fill with water. Next, cut the stems of fall blooms so they stand three to four inches taller than the pumpkin. Insert stems, one at a time, into the pumpkin at an angle, forming a soft mound. Fill in gaps with branches, berries, or leaves from the backyard. Display on a cake stand.
3 More Tips for a Sweet Day
- Rank your favorite pies.
A pie-rating competition puts a fun twist on a traditional potluck. Before your party, ask guests to bake and bring their favorite pie. Then, as they arrive, have them place their pie on your buffet and label each with a number. Give each guest a paper ballot and pencil, and after everyone finishes sampling, ask them to rank their top three pies. Tally up the votes and award the winning bakers a prize, like an apron, a gift card to a coffee shop, or even a scratch-off lottery ticket.
- Share your gratitude.
At her pie party, Leeson set out a gratitude board — a small touch that warmed everyone’s hearts. To do: Display a craft-store chalkboard and have guests write down a few things they’re grateful for. “Snap a photo of the board and text it to everyone so they can remember the good times and how they are blessed with friends,” she says.
- Pack up to-go boxes.
Triangular bakery-style boxes make it easy for guests to pack up their favorite individual slices of pie. And pretty autumnal ones that come with burlap ribbon and a pumpkin-shaped tag, like Pumpkin Pie Slice Boxes with Tags & Ties by Celebrate It (Buy from Michaels, $1.99 for two), make the to-go parcels more special. Just set empty boxes on the buffet and let guests fill them up.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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