Why Martha Stewart Never Serves Store-Bought Dessert At A Dinner Party

Just about anyone can appreciate a good cooking shortcut. If you have to feed a bunch of guests and you're short on time, useful tips for streamlining recipes are nothing short of a godsend, which is why we're all ears for some of Martha Stewart's best hacks for home cooks. From baking potatoes in the microwave to repurposing kitchen scraps to make stock, leave it to the queen of entertaining to show us ways to save time and money.

However, when it comes to cutting culinary corners, Stewart says one thing is definitely off-limits in her kitchen. She told The Kitchn that serving a store-bought dessert at a dinner party is a major no-no. Whether you plan on supplying a tasty sweet treat for a small, intimate gathering or a larger number of guests, the celebrity chef is clear about her disdain for buying baked goods from the grocery store. Her main point is that "homemade desserts are infinitely better" than ready-made varieties, which is hard to argue with if you want to channel your inner Stewart and go all-out for your dinner party.

Skip the store-bought pie

Although Martha Stewart says she would "never buy" a pre-made dessert, she's particularly adamant when it comes to pies. Her rule of thumb for serving pie at Thanksgiving and other gatherings: You shouldn't get to savor a slice until you know how to make a pie yourself. And if you don't know how to bake one, she says "you better learn." Those are some pretty daunting words, especially for anyone who's still learning their way around an oven. 

Fortunately, Stewart isn't leaving newbie bakers high and dry. Over the years, she's shared some of her best-kept secrets for whipping up a delicious pie, including how to bake a cookbook-worthy crust to perfection, which is arguably one of the most difficult parts about making a pie. Stewart notes that the type of butter you use is the key to making a crisp, flaky, all-purpose pie crust. She recommends using a high-quality unsalted variety instead of salted butter. This way, you can have better control over the amount of salt that goes into your pie, so it never comes out tasting too salty. Just be sure not to under-bake the crust, either. Bake it until it takes on an irresistible deep golden-brown coloring.

Store-bought items Stewart approves of

Stewart isn't entirely opposed to store-bought foods. Although she does take a more DIY approach to her Thanksgiving pies, she'll occasionally make an allowance when it comes to the stuffing. If she doesn't have time to make bread from scratch, she'll opt for store-bought brioche for a scrumptious stuffing that can be made without covering your kitchen in flour and stray measuring tools. 

For another example of when Stewart forgoes homemade food in favor of time-saving, store-bought staples, look no further than her gourmet frozen food line. The Martha Stewart Kitchen brand, which launched in 2021, features an array of tasty, ready-made meals, including a handful of frozen skillet meals like asparagus risotto and pesto pasta, which can easily be prepared on the stovetop.

What really takes the cake is the fact that the line includes a few pre-made frozen desserts, including apple crisps, double chocolate brownies, and mixed fruit hand pies. In the end, there are at least a few store-bought desserts that Stewart presumably approves of.