8 Things Keri Russell and Waitress Taught Me About Pie

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight )

Barely 30 minutes into watching Keri Russell in her role as Jenna, a total pie genius in the movie Waitress, my lukewarm (at best) feelings on pie were forever changed. From calm relaxation to working out frustrations, the movie finally convinced me of the therapeutic powers of baking pie.

Plus, with creations like peachy keen tarts, chocolate pudding pie drowned in caramel, and Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, how could I not want to eat more pie? Having now watched this movie many times, here are the pie (and life) lessons I learned.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

1. Eat pie at every meal, not just dessert.

Why relegate a slice of pie to dessert when it can be eaten throughout the day? I’m not talking about diving into that apple pie for breakfast or lunch (although should the feeling strike, I urge you to go with it!). Jenna shows us that pie is an all-day affair, with breakfast pies (aka quiche), dinner pies, and of course a sweet slice for dessert.

2. Love the basics, learn them, and then leave them behind.

While you’ll see a parade of pies throughout Waitress, you won’t catch a glimpse of any classic flavors like apple, blueberry, or lemon meringue. With creations like strawberry chocolate oasis pie and naughty pumpkin pie, Jenna opened my mind (and stomach) to a world of delicious pie possibilities far beyond the basics. Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, anyone?

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

3. Your quiche deserves brie.

I think of quiche as Jenna does — breakfast pie (see number one) — and the one she dreams up (aka Bad Baby Pie) starts with wide strips of brie layered on top of the flaky crust, topped with smoked ham and the custardy egg mixture. The dense cheese layer guarantees decadence. The next time you make a quiche, try starting things off with a layer of brie.

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

4. Chocolate mousse pie is the dessert you want for date night.

This movie solidified my go-to date night dessert once and for all: chocolate mousse pie. It’s so impressive yet so easy to pull together. Although the best part of it all is what you experience with each bite: light texture with a sensual, deep chocolate flavor. There’s a good reason Dawn refers to this as Falling in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie.

5. Dark chocolate is the very best upgrade for your berry pie.

What I knew to be true about the light, bright berry pies of summer was turned on its head as I watched Jenna make her signature, Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having an Affair Pie. For a killer berry pie upgrade, she taught me to paint the inside of the cooked pie shell with dark chocolate before filling it with a mixture of smashed raspberries and blackberries, and topping with whipped cream. It’s dark, sweet, and full dynamic flavors.

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

6. Go for unexpected ingredient combinations.

Taking a page out of her mama’s playbook, Jenna considers this tactic to snag the win in the pie competition. This is a tactic I love to employ in cooking, and it’s one that has the power to make a big difference with dessert. Herbs, spices, savory ingredients, and unexpected textures all bring a welcome twist to pie. Our savory tomato pie, pictured above, has two surprise ingredients: sweet peaches and herbal-tasting tarragon. It’s unexpected and delightful all at the same time.

7. Change up quiche with a potato crust.

As Jenna talks about her Spanish Dancer Pie (which I’m almost certain is a quiche), she mentions its potato crust. So smart! I instantly fell in love with this fun alternative to traditional pie crust. You can bring this to your own pie making with store-bought hash browns in a cinch.

Make your own potato crust: Potatoes: The New Quiche Crust

8. A slice of pie is pretty much a cure-all for everything.

The biggest, overarching takeaway from Waitress is that pie is the cure-all for just about everything. Want to feel better about your bad day, or perhaps celebrate a really, really good day? Let there be pie. Need to work your frustrations out? Make a pie.

Inspired to Make Pie? Try Our Favorite Recipes!