Pie Baking Guide

Chapter 4: Inspiration

    Once you feel confident making pie, consider taking its presentation to the next level. The easiest way to beautify your pie is a striking top crust. Variations on the classic woven lattice, intricately shaped pastry cutouts, or simply a pretty crimp around the edge are all simple ways to give pie’s top crust an upper-crust look.



    True show-stoppers

    A century ago pie was a commonplace food, served up to three times a day to hungry farmworkers. But over the years it’s evolved into a special-occasion treat, offered mainly at the holidays or as a fitting finale to a festive dinner party. See how to dress up your pie by giving it a top crust truly worthy of its star status.

    Lattice

    • Roll out the top crust and cut the dough into strips. These strips can be wide or narrow – your preference – and can all be the same width (for a uniform look) or alternating widths (for a more complex pattern). Place half the strips atop the pie, all going in one direction. Make sure to leave some space between the strips for adequate venting.
    • Peel back every other vertical strip to the edge of the pie. Starting at the top of your pie, where the vertical strips are anchored, place a strip of dough horizontally. Fold the vertical strips down to just cover the horizontal strip. Peel back every other vertical strip, alternating from the ones you peeled back before. Place another strip horizontally, fold back the vertical strips, and continue in this fashion until your pie is covered.
    • Fold the overhanging dough of the bottom crust up and over the lattice strips. Squeeze the dough together, creating a seam. Then crimp the dough to your liking. We used the same finger crimp technique demonstrated on the Bake page.
    • Brush the crust with the topping of your choice. (We used 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water.) Bake your pie as directed in the recipe.

    Cutouts

    • Roll out the top crust and use a pie crust cutter or small cookie cutter to punch out your desired shapes. Save the cutouts for topping the pie later.
    • Position the dough atop the pie as usual. Crimp the dough to your liking. We folded the top crust under the bottom crust to create a smooth, flat edge.
    • Place the cutouts along the rim of the pie.
    • Brush the crust with egg wash. (We used 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water.) Bake your pie as directed.

    Twists

    • Roll out the top crust and cut the dough into even strips. Brush half the strips with egg wash. (We used 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water, saving some to brush over the entire pie just before baking.) Then sprinkle the egg-washed strips with cinnamon-sugar.
    • Lay two strips next to each other (one cinnamon, one plain), and twist them around one another, being careful that the top of each strip remains facing upward. Continue this process until all the strips have been twisted into pairs.
    • Place each pair of strips atop the pie. Make sure to leave some space between the strips for adequate venting. Fold the dough for the bottom crust over the twists. Squeeze the dough together, creating a seam. Then crimp the dough to your liking. We used the same finger crimp technique demonstrated on the Bake page.
    • Brush the crust with the remaining egg wash. Bake your pie as directed.

    Diamonds

    • Roll out the top crust and use a knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough into diamonds.
    • We used 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water, saving some to brush over the entire pie just before baking. Sprinkle half with coarse sparkling sugar and the others with Swedish pearl sugar. You could also use cinnamon-sugar or other decorative toppings.
    • Place each diamond atop the pie, alternating the different toppings. Make sure to leave some space between the diamonds for adequate venting. Fold the overhanging dough of the bottom crust up and over the diamonds along the edge. Squeeze the dough together, creating a seam. Then crimp the dough to your liking. We used the same finger crimp technique demonstrated on the Bake page.
    • Brush the crust with egg wash. Bake your pie as directed.

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