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Start baking Thanksgiving pies early! Make Magnolia's pumpkin praline, apple and more

As the "chief baking officer" of New York's famous Magnolia Bakery, Bobbie Lloyd knows a few things about making pies and other pastries — and she's letting us in on some of her secrets! Lloyd shared recipes for the bakery's pumpkin praline pie, caramel apple lattice pie, cranberry-pear pecan crumble and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. She also offered some tips for making the best p

As the "chief baking officer" of New York's famous Magnolia Bakery, Bobbie Lloyd knows a few things about making pies and other pastries — and she's letting us in on some of her secrets! Lloyd shared recipes for the bakery's pumpkin praline pie, caramel apple lattice pie, cranberry-pear pecan crumble and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. She also offered some tips for making the best pies and cupcakes: 

  • Pie making golden rule: "Keep your pie dough ingredients cold!" is Lloyd's number one pie-making tip. 
  • Frosting top tip: "Make sure buttercream is the right consistency — not too creamy and not too stiff," advises Lloyd. "If it is too creamy, you can add more sugar. If it is too stiff, you can add more milk."
  • Make-ahead magic: Both pie dough and buttercream icing can be made up to three days in advance, though Lloyd says cupcakes are best made the day you're planning to serve them. 

Magnolia Bakery's Pumpkin Praline Pie
This recipe makes one glorious 9-inch pie.

For crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks or 8 ounces of butter, cold
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon ice water

For filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 ounces of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup, grade B
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For praline:

  • 1 cup pecans chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon granulated sugar


To prepare the crust:

1. Chop butter into 1/2" cubes, set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, mix flour, salt and sugar together for a few seconds.

3. Fill a measuring cup with ice and then with water, set aside.

4. Add the butter to the bowl and pulse several times until the flour and butter come together and the mixture looks like small peas.

5. Slowly add 1/3 cup of water and pulse several times, being careful not to over mix.

6. Remove the mixture from the bowl, place on the counter and if necessary add the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and gently mix by hand.

7. Divide pie dough into two even discs of dough or if you have a scale, weigh out 11-12 ounce discs of dough, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Rolling the dough and pie filling:

1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one of the disks of dough in a circle about 11 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick.

2. Fit the dough over a 9-inch pie pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and fill with baking beads or dry beans. Place into the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes while you make your filling.

3. Remove the unbaked pie shell from the refrigerator and par-bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

4. In the mixer bowl slowly mix the pumpkin, butter, sugar, maple syrup, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add your eggs one at time and then heavy cream and mix until fully incorporated. Do not over mix.

5. Remove pie from the oven and then remove the parchment paper and baking beads or beans. Raise the oven temp to 425 degrees.

6. Fill the warm pie crust with pumpkin filling and place on a sheet tray, return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven to 350 and continue to bake for 40 minutes or until the custard is set.

7. If crust begins to darken too fast, cover the edges with foil and continue baking.

To make the praline:

1. While the pumpkin pie is baking, toss together the pecans, brown sugar in a bowl.

2. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, using your fingers to ensure that ingredients are well blended.

3. Scatter pinched handfuls of the topping evenly over the puffed filling.

4. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.

5. Bake until the pecans are fragrant and the topping is bubbling around the edges, about 10 -12 minutes.

6. Cool the pie completely on a wire rack for at least 2 hours.


Magnolia Bakery's Caramel Apple Lattice Pie
This recipe makes one glorious 9-inch pie.

For crust: Use your favorite pie dough recipe (see above)

For filling:

  • 4 medium Honey Crisp apples
  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter

For egg wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water

For cinnamon sugar garnish:

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling the pie and creating lattice crust:

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Peel and slice Honey Crisp apples in 3/4" slices, Granny Smith into 1/4" slices.

3. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice, set aside.

4. Combine sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.

5. Roll the bottom crust to 13" and fit into the pie pan, letting the edges hang over.

6. Brush a thin layer of egg white wash over the dough.

7. Toss the sugar mixture with the apples and place the filling in the pie pan.

8. Form the apples into a high pile and dot the apples with the 1 tablespoon of butter.

9. Roll the dough for the top crust to 14”. Using a pastry wheel cut 10 strips about 1” wide each.

10. Place 5 strips of dough evenly spaced on top of the pie in one direction.

11. Fold back the first, middle and last strips, layer one strip across the pie. Fold over the second and 4th strips continue until up all 5 strips have been layered in the across the pie forming a lattice. 

12. With a pair of scissors trim the excess dough. With a fork or a small knife press the dough against the edge of the pan. Trim the excess dough again.

13. Brush the top lattice crust lightly with egg white wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar garnish. 

14. Place pie on a sheet tray lined with foil.

15. Place pie on a sheet tray lined with foil.

16. Place in pre-heated oven, and bake for 45 minutes. 

17. Pie is done when juices bubble through the top and the apples are tender when poked with a knife. You may need to use a pie shield or foil to prevent edges from burning.

18. Let pie cool for 1/2 hour. 

19. Using a squeeze bottle, squirt the caramel into the lattice at different points around the pie. 

20. Allow to cool completely on a rack for about 4 hours.

Make caramel:

1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, place the sugar, water, and lemon juice. With a wooden spoon or spatula stir to make sure all of the sugar is moistened with the water. Place pot on high heat.

2. Place a candy thermometer in the pot and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Do not stir.

3. Allow mixture to boil; watch thermometer closely.

4. The syrup must come to 330 degrees. As it cooks, be careful not to stir- if syrup starts to color unevenly, you can swirl the pan to even it out.

5. At 330 degrees, immediately remove pot from stove and carefully place on a dry towel. Be very cautious as mixture is extremely hot and can cause bad burns.

6. Pour cream into pot while standing back a little. Mixture will bubble vigorously; when it subsides, stir with a whisk. Whisk in the vanilla and salt.

7. Put pot back onto medium heat and allow to come to a simmer again, stirring with the whisk.

8. Remove pot from stove and pour into a metal bowl to cool.

9. When mixture is completely cool, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


Magnolia Bakery's Cranberry-Pear Pecan Crumble
This recipe makes one glorious 9-inch pie.

For pastry dough:

  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water

For pecan crumble topping:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

For fruit filling:

  • 2 pounds Anjou pears (about 5-6, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Make pastry:

1. Blend together flour, cold butter and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or pulse in a food processor just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.

2. Add ice water to the mixture. Gently stir with a fork (or pulse if using food processor) until incorporated and the mixture forms a ball of dough when pressed together. Do not knead the dough. Flatten dough to make a rough 5 inch disc, dust with flour and wrap pastry in cling film; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to use

Make crumble topping:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans evenly on a baking tray and bake for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.

2. Stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until large clumps form, and then stir in pecans. Chill until ready to use.

Make fruit filling: In a large bowl, stir together pears, cranberries, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and lemon juice.

Assemble pie:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a rolling pin, roll out prepared dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness.

2. Carefully place dough on a 9-inch pie dish and trim the edge, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold overhang and crimp around the border. Transfer fruit filling to pie shell and dot with butter. Evenly spread crumble mixture over pie and generously sprinkle with granulated sugar.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Bake pie for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until crumble is browned, filling is bubbling, and pears are tender. Cool completely before serving. 


Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 2 Dozen Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.

5. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

7. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.

8. With each addition, beat until the ingredient are incorporated but do not over-beat.

9. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.

10. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.

11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

12. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 box (4 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla. Gradually add sugar one cup at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl often. When the mixture starts to thicken and appears dry add 2 tablespoons of milk. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2-4 minutes. Add more milk as needed if you want a thinner consistency. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.

Store the icing at room temperature. Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.