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Nov 25, 2013 • By

Pie school in session

One of the best parts of a holiday gathering of course comes after dinner is served.

Your options for dessert – from cakes and bars to cookies and pies – can make the day truly memorable.

Well, 48 men and women who visited our headquarters this weekend now have no excuses when it comes to the pies they make. Because they were lucky to grab an invitation to the first-ever “Pillsbury Pie School” in the Kitchens of General Mills.

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I was there to see what they learned – and pick up a few tips myself. The participants started their day with a demonstration from Pillsbury’s pie experts on how to roll out their pie crust, assemble their pies and most importantly – how to make them look professional.

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“Who better to learn from than Pillsbury, and where better to learn than in the Betty Crocker kitchen!” said one participant.

After the demonstration, the teams of two people were set loose in the kitchens where their chosen flavor – pumpkin, apple or salted caramel pecan pies – were to be assembled and baked.

The duos participating in the three-hour pie school included men and women of all skill levels, and a wide variety of combinations – husband and wives, friends, aunts and nieces and even fathers and daughters. Before long, the kitchen was abuzz with stories of Thanksgiving traditions. (If you were watching KARE-TV in Minnesota, you may have caught a glimpse, through their live coverage.)

Pillsbury experts walked around the stations answering questions on how to prevent your pie crust from burning, how to get that glossy look and how to create a lattice design.

As the pies were popped into the oven, participants created cookie jars and learned how to make hand pies.

As their session started to wind down, the consensus all around was that attending Pillsbury’s pie school was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, especially so close to the holidays.

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So, why the focus on pie?

The 2013 Pillsbury “America’s Thanksgiving” survey found that nearly 90 percent of people asked said they will be serving pie at their Thanksgiving table along with the top two favorites – turkey and stuffing. Yet, fewer than two-in-five (37%) respondents said they exclusively serve homemade pies.

The top five pie flavors served at Thanksgiving, according to the Pillsbury survey, are Pumpkin, Apple, Pecan, Sweet Potato and Cherry.

Favorite tip from the Pillsbury Pie School:

Prevent your pie crust from burning around the edges by folding a piece of tin foil in half and then in half again. Cut a half circle out of the center of the foil, when you open it there will be a circle in the middle of your foil. Place over the pie after the edges are golden brown and bake the rest of the way through.

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For more great pie – and Thanksgiving meal – tips, visit Pillsbury’s “America’s Thanksgiving Table” page.