From crisp apple to seasonal mincemeat, thousands of holiday cooks will scramble to create the perfect pie for the dinner table. Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular occasions where pies become an important part of the festivities. To enhance the look and taste of your pies, consider the following tips for the holidays.
1. For a Flaky Crust
Thanks to pockets of fat in the dough, a pie crust develops its flakiness. A pastry blender or two knives that cut into the fat will help achieve these results. The dough should still have some pea-size pieces. It is important to handle the dough as little as possible with your hands. Another way to create a flakier crust is to substitute ice-cold sour cream or heavy cream for the water in your recipe.
2. Buttery and Tender Crusts
If you are interested in making a tender pie crust, use lard and shortening. If you want a buttery flavor in your crust, use half lard or shortening, and replace the other half with butter.
For the best results, try refrigerating all of your ingredients (even the flour) before making the dough for your pie crust.
4. Easy Rolling
To make rolling the pie crust dough easier, chill for 30 minutes.
5. Spice Up Your Pie Crusts
Adding nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon to pie crust dough will enhance the overall flavor.
6. Choice of Baking Dish
The baking dish you select for your pies will affect the end result of your pie crust. Pyrex glass pie plates are a good choice because it evenly conducts heat and lets the bottom crust of the pie bake all of the way through. When using a glass pie plate, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Also, do not oil or grease your pie plates. Aluminum pie pans do not cook evenly and if you must use – try using two.
7. Egg Washes for a Better Appearance
When you’re looking for a shiny crust, use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash to the tops of your pies. For every egg, only one teaspoon of liquid is required. A few combinations to consider include combining a whole egg and salt for a shiny crust; egg yolk and cream for a shiny, dark crust; and just plain ol’ egg white to achieve a pale, crisp crust.