We know the math nerds love that today is 3.14, and everyone who isn’t at least enjoys the excuse to eat pie so it’s a win-win situation. For us it’s both - on long car rides our dad actually taught us to memorize pi and in recent years Isabelle has come to perfect the pie crust (I: I actually grew up always eating the filling and passing on the crust when it came to pie, but once I learned how to make it a couple years ago I’ve never looked back! I’ve also managed to convert other crust-skeptics as well).
The perfect pie crust
It turns out that making a good pastry crust is easy! The trick to making it flaky is to keep things cold and not over mix. There are plenty of recipes out there, the one we use is simple flour, salt, chilled butter. and ice water. You can make it a couple of days ahead (it should be well chilled before you roll it out, a few hours at least) and then it’s just roll, fill, and bake.
Let us know if we should do a post with our favorite crust and filling recipes!
We have heard all sorts of techniques for getting the top crust nice and golden. An egg-wash can certainly accomplish the task, but if you don’t feel like making a scramble or tossing the rest when you’re done, try water or milk. We have gotten mixed results but some people swear by these methods. To really finish it off, add large grained sugar, such as sanding or turbinado.
If you are feeling creative, have a little fun with the design of the top crust. If you want to showcase the filling of the pie you can try a basic lattice or use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. All the little cutouts can be put back on the pie or, our mom’s favorite method, dusted with sugar and baked for little pie crust cookies :) Cookie cutters or a pairing knife can also be used to turn crust scraps into decorations. If you are looking for some inspiration, we love checking out the designs by lokokitchen.
If you don’t love crust…
Not convinced that pie crust can be good or maybe you don’t have time? That’s okay! One of our favorite pies actually doesn’t have a crust at all. Every Autumn since we were little we would gather apples from the tree in our backyard and make a classic “Apple Betty” from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (doesn’t every mom have this one?!). The cinnamon and sugar crunchy topping will always be a hit for us.
Alternatively, maybe try a graham cracker crust. They can be a little finicky, just make sure to really press it in, a smooth sided measuring cup often does the trick.
Pie for a crowd
Don’t let the name fool you, a slab pie is a genius concept. Sometimes also called a try pie, you make two crusts, roll them out to the size of your baking sheet with a thin layer of filing between. Cut the baked pie into squares and you are ready to feed the whole party. We like the Smitten Kitchen recipe, which includes the addition of a frosting drizzle turning it into the world’s biggest toaster pastry. This pie is also great for a mix of more and less crust options for your guests! Or yourself… we’re not judging.
For the crust lovers out there we present to you: hand pies! They are adorable, portable, and something about them just feels special. (I: full disclaimer this is the most time intensive option, but totally worth it for the right occasion) Roll out the dough, cut into your desired shape, fill, and seal with egg-wash. Tip: pick a stable filling and don’t overfill (they will still taste great, it will just be a much messier process). We used a crimped cutter to make wavy edges and a cookie cutter for the vent hole because why not?!
We would love to hear about your favorite pie recipes, tips, tricks and fails! We all have them :)