How To Make Pie

Want to make pie like a pro? Here are the 10 top tips for making flaky, buttery pastry, juicy fruit pies, and silky custard pies.

Pies with Cool Tops

Photo by Meredith

How to Make Pie

1. Keep ingredients cold.

  • Butter should be kept refrigerated until using; vegetable shortening, like Crisco®, can be stored in the freezer without freezing solid.
  • Add ice cubes to a measuring cup and fill it with more water than you’ll need; add cold water to the pastry mixture a tablespoon at a time.
  • Great pie starts with a great crust. Learn how to make pie crusts.

2. Refrigerate the dough after every step.

  • Chill dough immediately after mixing so that the flour can absorb all the liquid.
  • Chill it after rolling it out and lining the pie pan, to relax the dough and prevent it from shrinking in the oven.
  • For double-crust pies, roll out the top crust and refrigerate it on a flat plate or parchment-lined sheet pan while you prepare the pie filling.

3. Handle the dough as little as possible.
Try to patch cracks in your dough rather than re-rolling the crust. Over-handling makes the pastry tough.

Rolling Out Dough

Photo by Meredith

4. Use as little flour as possible when rolling out the dough.
The pastry can absorb extra flour, which will also make it tough. After rolling out the dough, brush off loose flour with a pastry brush or gently brush it with the edge of a clean kitchen towel.

Personal-touch time! Use cutout shapes, crimps, braids, and other fun tricks to make your pie look like a party on a plate.



Related: How to Make a Fluted Pie Crust

5. Bake plain crusts or filled pies in a hot oven to set the crust’s structure.
Most recipes call for a high initial temperature and then a reduced oven temperature for the rest of the baking time. For quiches, custard pies, and cream pies, it’s a good idea to pre-bake the crust, a.k.a. “blind baking” the crust. Here’s how to blind bake a pie crust.

Blind-baked pie crust

Photo by Meredith

6. Vent double-crust pies.
Cut slits in the top crust or use decorative cutters. This allows steam to escape, which is especially important for fruits with high moisture content. You can also create a lattice top for the pie. See how to Make a Lattice Pie Crust the Easy Way.

Venting the Pie

Photo by Meredith

7. Use aluminum foil or “pie shields” to protect the crust.
Loosely fold two-inch-wide strips of foil around the edges of the crust to keep it from getting too dark during the long bake time.

Two ways to shield the pie crust

Photo by Meredith

8. Bake pies on the lowest oven rack on a preheated sheet pan.
This helps prevent soggy bottom crusts. A rimmed pan also prevents juicy fruit pies from bubbling over onto your oven floor.

9. Bake your pies long enough.
Fruit pies, in order to thicken properly, need to be hot enough for the filling to boil. Custard pies require delicate handling: if you over-bake them, they can crack, pull away from the crust, and “weep,” or lose moisture. Custard pies are done when a knife tip inserted an inch from the center comes out clean (the center will firm up as the pie cools).

10. Let pies cool before serving.
The filling needs time to set or else the pie will be runny. Bake your pies well in advance of your holiday meal so that the filling has time to set — a warm pie does not make for easy slicing.

If your family prefers warm pie, cover the pie loosely with foil and warm in a preheated 300 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes before serving. Fruit pies should cool at least four hours before slicing; custard pies should cool for two hours before serving or being refrigerated.

VIDEO: How to Be a Pie Pro

Practice makes perfect! These tips and tricks for making the perfect pie crust will get you to the next level.

Adorn Your Pie

Add a festive touch to your pies. Use extra dough to cut out leaf shapes; mini leaf cutters are available at many kitchen stores. This is also a great way to hide cracks in pumpkin pie.

Use the back of a paring knife or a dull butter knife to press veins in the leaves. Brush the dough shapes with egg wash and bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown (small leaves will require less baking time).

Arrange a trio of leaves in the center of the pie (or artfully covering any flaws) and garnish with a few cranberries frosted with superfine sugar.

Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Photo by llgrotts

Serving Your Pie

If you like, bedazzle it with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream. Add two tablespoons of sugar (or more to taste) and teaspoon of vanilla extract to every two cups of heavy whipping cream–or make it even merrier with a splash of liqueur. For a delicious sweet-tart topping, use half sour cream (not low-fat) and heavy cream, as in this Easy Whipped Cream recipe.

Pie with Ice Cream on Top

Photo by Allrecipes

How To Fix Pie Problems

Cracked or sticky dough? Soggy or pale crust? A pie that’s a bit runny or misshapen? If you’ve got problems, we’ve got solutions!

Explore our complete collection of pie recipes.

Find the perfect pie crust recipe.

Get more tips, tricks, and awesome food finds right here.