Pie Crust 101

By Carol Fenster

You don’t have to fear making pie crust anymore! My easy techniques guide you along so you can have luscious pies, just like everyone else. Find my pie crust recipe in any of my cookbooks. With the right ingredients and my easy-to-follow instructions, your pies will amaze your family and friends.  They say a “picture is worth a thousand words” so here are photos showing what to do at each step of the process.

The photos show a Cherry Pie, but you can use these techniques for any double-crust pie. If you’re making a single-crust pie like Pumpkin or Pecan, flute the crust edges, and fill with filling, and bake as directed by your recipe. Freeze the remaining half of the dough for another pie.

Lay damp paper towel on countertop under 12×12-inch sheet of heavy-duty plastic wrap. Place half of dough on top and flatten into disk with hands. Top with another sheet of plastic wrap.
Use rolling pin to roll dough, working clockwise from center out to edge, to 12-inch circle.
Pick up dough and drape over your hand; with other hand, slowly and gently peel off plastic wrap. See how easily the pie crust drapes over my hand; the sweet rice flour gives it some pliability.
Place dough in pie pan, plastic-side up. Center dough by shifting plastic wrap; the dough will remain stuck to it. Don’t remove plastic wrap until pie crust is in place. Leave overhang; you’ll trim it later. Press crust around bottom of pan to uniform thickness, then slowly and gently peel off plastic wrap. If it resists, try peeling from another side. If pie crust breaks, press together with your fingers or patch with small piece of remnant dough.
Put filling in pan. Roll out second half of dough just as you did first half. Drape it over your hand, gently peel off top layer of plastic wrap and invert over filling, centering as best you can. The little yellow flecks in the cherries are pats of butter.
Slowly and gently peel off top layer of plastic wrap.
With small knife or kitchen shears, trim overhang of dough where it meets edge of pie pan.  Gently nudge top and bottom crusts together around edge of pan and roll crust under (toward the outer edge of pan) with your fingers.
Shape decorative edge around rim of pan with fingers. Called crimping or fluting, you can use any style you wish.
For better browning, brush top crust with beaten egg, fruit juice, or milk or cream. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
To allow steam to escape during baking and lessen chances of spill-overs, prick crust a few times with sharp knife or fork.
To brown bottom crust and reduce sogginess, place pie on rimmed nonstick baking sheet and bake on lowest oven rack for first 15 minutes, then shift to middle rack for remainder of baking.
Voila!You have a delicious Cherry Pie!Congratulations!

For best results, cool pie completely on wire rack before cutting. Best eaten on same day. Refrigeration causes sogginess; better to gobble it up while it’s fresh!

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