The final word vacation dessert is unquestionably pie—in no matter flavors you like, it is doubtless in your desk. But when we’re being sincere, our pies do not at all times appear like the showstoppers we would like them to. This yr particularly, I am searching for small joys this vacation season. For me, making a very stunning dessert (even when I am the one one which sees it) is unquestionably a bit of pleasure, so I went on the lookout for tricks to take my wholesome pumpkin pie and to make it one thing actually photo-worthy.

Fortunately for me, Helen Nugent—a pie professional, of a kind—printed a e book this fall titled Pie Fashion, chock-full of recipes and recommendation for making a phenomenal 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 fantastically 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 simple it’s to crimp a pie crust (a step I at all times skipped—it at all times 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 yr, I’ve determined to definitely be crimping the crust on my pie, following her five-step information (under).

The most effective factor about pies is how simple 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 chances are you’ll not want a lot, as many fruits have a refined sweetness of their very own that comes out as they prepare dinner).

As a result of it is also really fairly simple to make a (completely nice) vegan pie crust, they’re additionally a terrific various dessert for plant-based eaters on the holidays. Not solely that, however cooking fruit does not essentially invalidate its dietary worth—it could break down some vitamins, however others maintain up nicely 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 yr additionally does not imply 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 searching for extra citrus fruits, too—they’ll make for an exquisite pie or tart on their very own or when added to different components.