The final word vacation dessert is certainly pie—in no matter flavors you like, it is doubtless in your desk. But when we’re being trustworthy, our pies do not all the time seem like the showstoppers we wish them to. This 12 months particularly, I am looking for small joys this vacation season. For me, making a very lovely dessert (even when I am the one one which sees it) is certainly a chunk of pleasure, so I went searching for tricks to take my healthy pumpkin pie and to make it one thing really photo-worthy.

Fortunately for me, Helen Nugent—a pie skilled, of a kind—printed a e book this fall titled Pie Style, chock-full of recipes and recommendation for making an exquisite pie. A self-taught baker, Nugent makes ornate pies which have earned her over 50,000 followers on Instagram, the place she shares a gradual stream of superbly crafted pies.

Although her complicated creations could seem intimidating, there are (a lot) less complicated issues you are able to do to make a pie look a bit extra skilled. One easy factor particularly stood out to me: how straightforward it’s to crimp a pie crust (a step I all the time skipped—it all the time appeared too finicky) and simply how a lot taking that bit of additional time can take a pie from rustic to bakery-quality. So this 12 months, I’ve determined to actually be crimping the crust on my pie, following her five-step information (under).

The perfect factor about pies is how straightforward it’s to make them wholesome and seasonal. In style components like pumpkin and apple are in season within the autumn, and so they pair splendidly with pure sweeteners like maple syrup or honey (although it’s possible you’ll not want a lot, as many fruits have a delicate sweetness of their very own that comes out as they prepare dinner).

As a result of it is also really fairly straightforward to make a (completely nice) vegan pie crust, they’re additionally an excellent various dessert for plant-based eaters on the holidays. Not solely that, however cooking fruit does not essentially invalidate its dietary worth—it might break down some vitamins, however others maintain up effectively within the warmth. Making an apple pie this season? “Peeling apples will do much more to deplete these vitamins than baking,” says registered dietitian Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D.

Sticking to seasonal fruit in your pie this 12 months additionally doesn’t suggest you are caught choosing pumpkin or apple: Cranberries, figs, raspberries, pears, and pomegranates are in season now, too. And as we head into winter, you can begin looking for extra citrus fruits, too—they will make for an exquisite pie or tart on their very own or when added to different components.