It was a gamble, y'all.

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Best Pecan Pie
Credit: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

What is it about 2021 that has convinced us to throw caution to the wind and switch up our Thanksgiving favorites with something new, something fresh, something unexpected? Well, except for the mac and cheese. One should never touch that unless you're looking for a full-blown, mashed-potato-slinging holiday brawl, all for the sake of Cheddar vs. Gruyere. Luckily for the adventure seekers out there, we have a few safe-to-try updates that will likely be winners. For instance, swapping the sweet potato casserole recipe from the back of the marshmallow bag for our out-of-this-world Sweet Potato Souffle (which is way easier than it sounds), or even giving the green bean casserole the season off in favor of our lightened-up Garlic Parmesan Green Beans. But before you do anything drastic, it's important to realize that making changes to your Thanksgiving lineup is like mastering the art of the statement lip—now is not the time to try a smoky eye or give a power brow a go. Keeping the other elements the same is key to eliminating chaos and, most importantly, regret. Thankfully, I am now fully convinced there will be no public outcry when our Best Pecan Pie makes its debut on our family Thanksgiving table in a few days. But, just to be sure, we won't mess with any of the other favorites.

There are, of course, other ways to make sure you don't bring the house down on Thanksgiving, and that's by trying your little swapperoos ahead of time. Better yet if you try them on an entire teacher's lounge-full of educators. That's exactly what I did earlier this week. Was it a gamble? Could I potentially have had a bunch of hungry, report-card-wielding teachers on my hands? Yes, to the former, no to the latter thanks to a little connivery which, along with my famous mashed potatoes, is a specialty of mine. I had a spy on the inside who promised to take notes on how the pie went over and only spill who sent said pie if it was well received. If you're thinking I have problems, well, you're right on about that, sister. Thankfully, I got the message I had been waiting for around noon yesterday: The pie was good. "Soooo good." And just like that it was added to our turkey day menu.

Our Best Pecan Pie is a deep-dish recipe, which means you'll need to bust out your favorite Emile Henry for the job. I went ahead and filled that dish to the very top, unwilling to waste even a drop of the nutty filling. As with most pecan pies, the filling comes together in no time at all. Just a little simmer on the stove and you'll be all set. Our quick and easy pecan pie for Thanksgiving calls for homemade pie crust but, if you find yourself in a pinch, you can pick up a store-bought deep-dish frozen crust like Pillsbury.

As the pie bakes, the filling puffs up slightly, creating a beautiful, rounded, crackly crust. Think about your ideal pecan pie and you'll find it staring back at you from your oven if you give this one a go. Now, if you're a fan of the super-sweet, makes-your-teeth-hurt kind of pecan pie, this version could be a departure. It's still plenty sweet (it calls for a full cup-plus of sugar, after all), but it really lets those pecans shine. Top it with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream and you've got the new star of your holiday dessert sideboard—or the teacher's lounge pre-holiday potluck.

Pecan pie is arguably the South's most beloved Thanksgiving pie, so it's with much caution that one gets it in mind to try something new, but with a name like "Best Pecan Pie" can you blame me?