It’s the Thanksgiving standard and once you’ve made the perfect pie, your life is forever better.
But if you’ve struggled with pie, then you know the pain. Follow our Gygi Guide to Pie for tips and trick for successful pies. Stock up on a few new tools to make your life easier. And you can move forward knowing life really can be easy as pie.
Pie is only as good as its crust. So, let’s start there.
The number one rule of pie crust is to be gentle! Pie crust is a delicate pastry and requires a delicate touch. You shouldn’t ever smoosh or squish the dough into a smooth ball. Unlike bread or roll dough, pie crust should never be kneaded into a smooth dough. Using a pastry blender allows you to cut the dough perfectly, without being over worked.
The second rule is to keep your ingredients cold. Chill your butter or shortening before making the crust. Only add cold water to the dough. You can make cold water by making a mixture of water and ice to measure from. After the dough is made, chill in the fridge for an hour before rolling it out. The secret here is that the cold fat will melt more slowly. leaving you soft, flaky pockets in your pie crust.
When it comes time to roll out your dough, we have a few tools that make the work much easier to do. First, is a silicone pastry mat. This makes a wonderful surface to roll your crust and then transport to your plate.
We also recommend using a pie bag for rolling your dough. To use this, you’ll dust the bag with flour, place the dough in the center, and then roll your dough out to an even circle. The bag helps keep the dough a similar thickness and it is easy to make the perfect sized circle.
When it comes time to prepare the top crust, we love these pie top cutters for a quick and easy decoration. You can also use these pastry cutters or small cookie cutters for cute decorations. If you want to add little crust cut-outs, simply attach them with a bit of raw egg!
Finally, when you’re ready to clean up your pie crust mess, a bench scraper is the easiest way. Simply gather the stray flour into a pile and swipe into a garbage bowl or garbage can. The bench scraper will remove any crusty bits of dough with out creating a yucky paste of flour, like a dishrag would do.
Pie Crust Recipes
Prefer an all butter crust? We have great success with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.
Want a crust with shortening? Go with A Bountiful Kitchen’s recipe. She is the queen of pie. Her recipe and tips are sure to create a pie baker out of anyone.
There are a variety of dishes you can use to make delicious pie. And surprisingly, the most simple pie plates are most effective.
Basic aluminum pie pans heat quickly and evenly, properly crisping the bottom crust of your pie.
Glass pie plates take a bit longer to heat, but they allow you to check the progress of the bottom crust, which is a huge advantage.
Ceramic dishes take a long time to heat, often resulting in a soggier crust. But, they are generally deeper, allowing you to create a larger pie.
Last, cast iron skillets also take a long time to heat, but they hold a lot of pie! I love them for a deep dish apple pie. Yum. Plus, they make a gorgeous presentation.
If you’re making a pie that requires a pre-baked pie crust, we follow the tips of A Bountiful Kitchen for blind baking a crust.
Before baking your pie, we suggest adding an egg wash and sprinkling of sugar. This will brown the crust, making your pie look professional.
We have A LOT of favorite recipes here at Gygi! Click through these recipes to find a new favorite for your pie feast!