Lifestyle & Retirement

This holiday season, up the wow factor

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With the bustle of the holiday season upon us, busy hosts are looking for simple ways to infuse personality and flair into holiday entertaining. To help, Pillsbury has partnered with party planner to the stars, David Tutera, to show how easy it is to create an impressive table at any holiday gathering. "There’s no doubt about it, pie is the Ëœit’ food item at festive events this year," says Tutera. "But what many people don’t realize is how easy it is to create treats that impress, with minimal effort."

From a traditional family dinner to a joyful celebration, there’s a pie to match every occasion. And simple twists on classic recipes offer new ways to leave a lasting impression. With some recipes ready to bake in less than 20 minutes, the hard part is picking which one to make.

Tutera recommends selecting a pie that reflects the spirit of the party. A more formal event calls for a richer dessert, such as Raspberry Truffle Tart. Decadent chocolate, fresh raspberries and raspberry liquor melt together in this elegant showpiece. The recipe calls for an "only-you-will-know" shortcutPillsbury® Refrigerated Pie Crusts, which Tutera says look and taste homemade, a smart choice that makes pie baking less intimidating and more convenient.

For a more traditional approach, Golden Pecan Pie delivers all the nutty goodness guests expect with an extra layer of rich brown sugar custard. "This holiday staple makes a perfect host gift, too," says Tutera. Adding this insider tip: "I like to scout antique shops and flea markets for decorative pie tins. A homemade pie delivered in one of these tins is a thoughtful gesture."

French Silk Chocolate Pie is a crowd pleaser that complements a variety of menu themes. Whipped cream and chocolate shavings give it a festive feel, and the no-bake filling lets you prepare and refrigerate ahead of time, freeing up valuable oven space for other courses.

Tutera appreciates the versatility of pie crust, reminding cooks that pie isn’t just for guests with a sweet tooth. Flaky pie crust is the perfect base for many savory treats, too. For example, Salmon Pastries with Dill Pesto are ideal appetizers for cocktail parties and holiday open-house events. Each little pastry pocket is bursting with salmon and cheesy-dill flavors, and their bite-sized shape make them perfect for passing or serving buffet-style.

Overnight houseguests would be delighted to wake up to a Ham and Broccoli Quiche. A pie crust base coddles ham, cheese, eggs and broccoli and is delicious served hot or cold, so guests can linger over a leisurely breakfast or brunch. Plus, on-hand meat and vegetables can be substituted for the ham and broccoli, eliminating those last-minute trips to the grocery store.

Mile-High Peanut Butter-Brownie Pie is sure to impress on any holiday occasion. A creamy peanut butter filling partners with a moist brownie base to create an indulgent dessert that’s surprisingly easy to prepare and ready to bake in less than twenty minutes.

No matter which pie you choose, Tutera reminds hosts that having fun and serving foods that reflect the personality of the gathering and their personal style is what’s most important. "The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, and pie is a delicious way to honor tradition while surprising guests with delightful new ways to enjoy their favorite flavors."

For these and more recipes, ideas and party tips, visit  

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