Is it the coconut cream pie that I tenderly tucked into with heirloom flatware on Donna’s Southern porch a couple of weeks ago or is it the emerging trend reports coming out this fourth quarter that name pies as “the thing” for 2011?  Either way, I am nurturing a new obsession as the holiday season approaches.

I am especially smitten with non-fruit pies.  My head is spinning with visions of rich chocolate pie with freshly whipped heavy cream, homey banana topped with toasted coconut, or the Thanksgiving favorite: pumpkin (with an EC spin or course…thinking cinnamon crust?).   It’s no secret in Chicago, that when pie urge comes on strong,  Hoosier Mama Pie is THE place to set it straight.

And then, there are the savory pies, which is where our Executive Chef Shawn excels.   At Entertaining Company “Pie Bar!” is the answer when “Cozy Autumn Dinner Buffet?” is the question. For the past few weeks, I have been sneaking across the street to our kitchens daily to see what Chef Shawn has been turning out of the ovens.

Here’s how he does it.  Each guest gets their own individual baked pie crust in a no-frills (and no plates or clean up, thank you!) pie tin. Guests are then given their choice of rich and savory fillings with which to fill their crusts with. Lobster Newburgh, Molasses-Barbecue Short Ribs, Guinness Gravy, Tandoori Chicken Masala, Sambhar, Potato Fondant, Fresh Peas, Baby Carrots, Corn, Roasted Mushrooms,  House-made Mac and Cheese, Charred Tomatoes, Sautéed Garlic and Spinach. Lastly, guests are presented with a flakey pastry lid to top off their unique dinner pie creation.

Now just add a glass of red wine and a roaring fireside setting and cozy doesn’t even begin to describe it!