Two tricked-out pies to be thankful for

Pears and cranberries partner for a fall-forward pie of flavor and textural contrasts, with fresh and dried versions of the berries playing off each other. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
This version of pumpkin pie is topped with a nut-free ginger praline, made from ginger snap cookies and crystallized ginger. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Homemade pie fillings prove easy. Crust not so much. Practice makes perfect. With every pie, our skills improve. It’s an acquired art to turn out flaky, beautiful crust. My mother regularly reminds us of her early crust adventures — many of which ended in the garbage can. No worries, she says, the crust ingredients cost far less than the filling.