4 Tips to Bake the Perfect Pie

Pie is such a beloved dessert that it has not one, but two national days dedicated to it (three if you include Pi Day, which is meant to commemorate the mathematical quantity of pi but is generally celebrated mainly by eating pies.) As we all head farther into the holiday season, this delicious dessert only becomes more and more prevalent. If you are interested in making one for the season, but are intimidated by the process or don’t know where to start, you are not alone. Pies can be a difficult dessert to approach, and everyone wants them to turn out just right. Here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Don’t be ashamed to use frozen pie crust from the store

I know that, occasionally, a person will want to be able to look at something and think, “I made every part of that.” This can be a proud moment, and is often desired when making a dessert. Generally more common, however, is the desire to complete something well in a reasonable amount of time. If you have the latter desire, consider using frozen pie crust. It’s delicious, and takes considerably less effort than making the crust yourself. If you want to make the crust, go ahead! Just know that it can still be counted as a homemade pie if you don’t.

2. Mix up the selection

There are a wide variety of pies to choose from in this world. So, if you are tired of the more common ones, why not try something a bit different? Pumpkin pie is common during the holidays because pumpkins are in season, but we live in a world now where we have access to more foods throughout the year. Maybe what you really want heading into the depths of winter is a berry pie reminiscent of a warmer, less snowy season. Or, maybe you want to make a variation of a classic. Do you want pumpkin pie, but don’t have room in the fridge? Try making pumpkin pie bites!

3. Give some attention to the crust

While the filling is undeniably the most important aspect of a pie, the crust has an essential role to play as well. Aside from it being incredibly obvious when the crust is wrong (somehow, you can always tell), crusts go a long way to add to the appearance of the dessert. For all pies, it’s a good idea to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil while baking. This keeps them from becoming too dark and appearing burnt despite long baking times. For pies with a second crust over the filling, make sure there are vents into the crust to allow steam to escape. These vents can be as simple as slits or cut-out shapes, or as complex as a specific design (like a lattice). Go for the style you want, just don't forget to add them!

4. Let the pie cool before serving

It may be very tempting to grab a slice from a pie right out of the oven. While this will be delicious and melt any ice cream placed on it, the unfortunate consequence is that the pie will absolutely fall apart the minute the slice is removed. Letting a pie cool allows for the filling to set, which in turn allows for the perfect slices of pie that everyone wants to see before they eat. Slicing into a pie too early will not affect the flavor in the slightest, but nobody wants to put in the effort of making a pie only to see the filling run all over the place. Make any pies the day before they are to be served, and there should be no problem.

Baking a pie can seem like a difficult and intimidating process. This is an impression that is supported by the wide number of recipes available with “easy” and “simple” in the name. Don't worry, though! When done right, baking a pie can be a rewarding (and delicious) process. If you’re considering making a pie for this holiday season, consider these tips to make the experience smoother and make the pie the best that it can be! Enjoy baking and eating, and have a happy Pie Day!

Pictures: Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4