Making pie is my jam. If I had to pick one thing in the kitchen that really makes me happy, baking a pie would be it. I mean, everyone loves pie, right?
Creating great pies, however, does require some adherence to "structure" and following some simple directions.
Here's my recipe:
Making the Crust
Keep your ingredients cold. As you read in the pie crust recipe, the colder the ingredients, the crispier and flakier the crust. Make sure you use ice water and that your butter – or shortening – stays cold and doesn't get to room temp.
Once you've mixed your ingredients, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before working with it, and then chill in-between rolling and prior to blind baking and adding the filling. Chill, chill, chill.
Rolling In the Dough
Make sure you use as little flour as possible when rolling out your dough. The more dry flour you incorporate, the tougher your dough will become.
Keep your fingers off the dough, too, as much as you can, as heat transfers from your fingertips and softens the butter.
Edging and Décor: 3 Simple Designs
There are many ways to pretty up your pie, but the three below are probably the simplest way to success.
You can always cut out designs, leaves, or hearts and add decorations with your extra dough.
1. Pinwheel piecrust:
Fold the overhang of bottom crust under and press flat. Cut slits around the edge of the dough approximately the width of the pie plate rim, leaving about an inch between the slits. Fold under at a diagonal angle to form pinwheel points.
2. Rope Edge piecrust:
Fold the overhang of the bottom crust under to make a stand-up edge. Make an indentation with your finger on the pastry, crimping between your knuckle and thumb. Continue around the entire crust.
3. Fork Edge piecrust:
Easiest way to add a little pie flair, take a fork and press the tines into the edge of the dough at equal distance to create a fluted look.
Before you even put the pie into the heat, make sure the oven is at the correct temperature. This helps ensure your baked good turns out the best, helps crisp the crust, and will keep your crust from getting soggy from the filling.
3 ways for a perfectly brown crust:
- Blind bake or parbake -
This is a method of pre-baking your crust prior to adding the filling. You'll want to use pie weights while blind baking. Ceramic ones are available at cooking stores, or you can use dried beans or peas.
First lightly prick the insides of the crust with a fork, making sure you aren't gouging any holes through the dough. Then, place a piece of foil inside your crust and gently flatten. Add your weights (or beans or peas if you're using them) evenly around the crust. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove and cool before adding filling. Then bake as instructed by your recipe.
- Brush the unbaked crust with a slightly beaten egg white and refrigerate for about 15 minutes before adding filling or blind baking.
- Use a glass, dark metal or ceramic baking dish. These will be better for absorbing the heat, and they won't reflect heat like aluminum pans.
A Few Good Tools
You don't need many tools to make a good pie, but there a fewhandy kitchen supplies that can really make baking a perfect pie a much simpler task.
A pastry cutter helps you to evenly blend the butter into your flour when creating your basic crust.
These ceramic weights are used for blind baking to help keep the crust from bubbling up as it cooks. If you don't have any of these, you can use dried beans or peas or even clean gravel.
A metal ring used to keep your outside crust from over-browning while baking. If you don't have one of these, you can easily make one with foil.
Used for glazing your pie crust with egg wash. Egg wash will give a beautiful, shiny, golden brown appearance to your crust during baking.
The cooling rack functions as a way to cool down your pie, allowing air to circulate not only on top of your pie, but underneath as well.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on Food Network's "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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