How to Make a Pie


A fabulous home-baked pie adds a perfect finishing touch to any meal. Fortunately, there are so many delicious varieties of pie, it's easy to find one to complement any menu and please any palate.

If you've ever hesitated to make your own pie crust from scratch, you owe it to yourself to try. Pie crust is really very simple to make. While it may take a few attempts for you to understand all the nuances of reaching the pinnacle of flaky pie crust perfection, just think of all the fun you'll have trying.

In this article, we'll talk about many of the different kinds of pie crusts. Whether you're going to make the classic pie crust, a crumb crust, a lattice crust, or a pasty crust, we'll teach you the basics on how to make the perfect crust for your pies every time. Let's start with tips on making a single crust pie on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Pie Recipes: From fruit to cream, the variety of pie recipes in our collection is sure to make your mouth water. Find the one (or several) you're looking for here.
  • How to Make Pastries: Pastry dough can be temperamental to work with, to say the least. Find tips on how to work with it and make delicious pastries only at HowStuffWorks.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about everything from selecting the proper baking pan to cooling and frosting a finished cake.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make a Single Crust Pie

As with most things in cooking, success with pie crusts depends on being organized, having the exact ingredients called for, careful measuring, and a few skills. Here are some basic tips that should help you master the art of making pie crusts:

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  • If the dough is sticky and difficult to handle, refrigerate it until firm. The easiest way to roll out pastry dough without sticking is to use a rolling pin cover and pastry cloth. Lightly flour the covered rolling pin and pastry cloth before using.

  • Handle the dough quickly and lightly. A tough pie crust is often the result of too much flour worked into the dough or over-handling.

  • Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough, as this will cause it to shrink during baking.

Single Crust Pie

Single crust pies are pies that have only a crust on the bottom. Though the exact measurements may vary slightly and there may be a surprise ingredient slipped in now and then, single pie crust recipes are all pretty much the same. Just follow these easy steps.
  1. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture forms pea-sized pieces.

    Use a pastry blender to cut in shortening when making single crust pie pastries.
    Use a pastry blender to
    cut in the shortening.
  2. Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Toss with fork until mixture holds together. Press together to form a ball.

    Toss with a fork until the mixture holds together when making pastry.
    Toss with a fork until the
    mixture holds together.
  3. Press dough between hands to form 5- to 6-inch disk.

  4. Lightly flour surface and rolling pin. Roll dough in short strokes, starting in middle of disk and rolling out toward edge. Rotate dough 1/4 turn to right. Sprinkle more flour under dough and on rolling pin as necessary to prevent sticking. Continue to roll and rotate dough 2 to 3 more times.

  5. Roll dough into circle 1/8-inch thick and at least 1 inch larger than inverted pie plate.

    Roll dough larger than inverted pie plate when making single crust pie pastries.
    Roll dough larger than inverted pie plate.
  6. Place rolling pin on 1 side of dough. Gently roll dough over rolling pin once.

    Roll dough over rolling pin when making single crust pastries.
    Roll dough over the rolling pin.
  7. Carefully lift rolling pin and dough. Unroll dough over pie plate. Ease dough into pie plate with fingertips. Do not stretch dough.

    Ease dough into pie plate when making single crust pastries.
    Carefully unroll dough over pie plate.
  8. Trim crust, leaving 1/2-inch overhang; fold overhang under. Flute edge of crust as desired.

  9. To flute pie into a special, sunburst effect, press the edge of the crust flat. Cut slits around edge of crust at 1-inch intervals, cutting in toward center about 1/2 inch.

    Cut slits in the crust edges when making single crust pastries.
    Cut slits around the edge of the crust.
  10. Fold dough flap under on a diagonal at each slit to form a point.

    Fold at slits to make a point when making single crust pastries.
    Fold at the slits to form a point.
  11. Cover pie crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to allow dough to relax.

  12. To blind-bake crust, pierce crust with fork at 1/4-inch intervals, about 40 times.

  13. Cut a square of foil about 4 inches larger than pie plate. Line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice or ceramic pie weights.

    Fill foil-lined crust with dried beans when making single crust pastries.
    Fill foil-lined crust with dried beans.
  14. Bake in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes or until set. Remove from oven. Gently remove foil lining and beans. Return crust to oven and bake 5 minutes or until very light brown. Cool crust completely on a wire rack before filling and finishing the pie according to recipe directions.

    Bake until crust is a very light brown when making single crust pastries.
    Bake until crust is a very light brown.

Learn about double crust pies in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Pie Recipes: From fruit to cream, the variety of pie recipes in our collection is sure to make your mouth water. Find the one (or several) you're looking for here.
  • How to Make Pastries: Pastry dough can be temperamental to work with, to say the least. Find tips on how to work with it and make delicious pastries only at HowStuffWorks.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about everything from selecting the proper baking pan to cooling and frosting a finished cake.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make a Double Crust Pie

A double crust pie gives you an extra dose of pastry. Double crust pies have a crust on the bottom and a crust on top.
  1. Divide dough in half. Roll out each half as described in Single Crust Pie method . Lightly flour surface and rolling pin. Roll dough in short strokes, starting in middle of disk and rolling out toward edge. Rotate dough 1/4 turn to right. Sprinkle more flour under dough and on rolling pin as necessary to prevent sticking. Continue to roll and rotate dough 2 to 3 more times.

  2. Roll dough into circle 1/8-inch thick and at least 1 inch larger than inverted pie plate.

  3. Transfer bottom crust to pie plate as described in Single Crust Pie method. Place rolling pin on one side of dough. Gently roll dough over rolling pin once. Carefully lift rolling pin and dough. Unroll dough over pie plate. Ease dough into pie plate with fingertips. Do not stretch dough. Trim edge even with edge of pie plate.

  4. Add desired filling to unbaked pie crust. Moisten edge of crust with water.

  5. Place rolling pin on one side of rolled out top crust. Gently roll dough over rolling pin once.

  6. Carefully lift rolling pin and dough. Unroll dough over pie filling. Ease dough over filling with fingertips. Do not stretch dough.

    Roll dough over pie filling when making double crust pie pastries.
    Unroll dough over pie filling.
  7. Trim crust leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under bottom crust.

  8. To flute, place index finger on inside edge of rim, pointing toward outside of pie. Pinch crust into "V" shape between index finger and thumb. Repeat along entire edge of the pie.

    Pinch crust into V shape when making double crust pie pastries.
    Pinch crust into "V" shape.

Crumb crusts usually involve cookies or graham crackers. Learn more about them in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Pie Recipes: From fruit to cream, the variety of pie recipes in our collection is sure to make your mouth water. Find the one (or several) you're looking for here.
  • How to Make Pastries: Pastry dough can be temperamental to work with, to say the least. Find tips on how to work with it and make delicious pastries only at HowStuffWorks.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about everything from selecting the proper baking pan to cooling and frosting a finished cake.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make a Crumb Crust Pie

Crumb crusts use graham crackers or cookie crumbs to form the crust.
  1. Place cookies (or graham crackers) in resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out excess air; seal bag tightly. Roll over cookies with rolling pin until finely crushed.

    Roll over cookies or graham crackers with a rolling pin when making a crumb crust.
    Roll cookies with rolling pin
    until finely crushed.
  2. Combine crumbs and butter in medium bowl; press firmly onto bottom and up side of pie plate. Refrigerate until firm.

    Combine crumb and butter mix in pastry pan when making crumb crust pastries.
    Press crumbs and butter mix
    onto the pie plate.
  3. Fill crumb crust with desired filling.

    Fill crumb crust with desired filling when making crumb crust pastries.
    Fill crumb crust with desired filling,
    in this case strawberries.

A lattice crust makes a beautiful-looking pie. Find tips on the next page.

Variation
Instead of step one, place cookies (or graham crackers) in food processor or blender container; process using on/off pulses until finely crushed.

Place cookies in food processor as an alternate method for making crumb crust pie pastries

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Pie Recipes: From fruit to cream, the variety of pie recipes in our collection is sure to make your mouth water. Find the one (or several) you're looking for here.
  • How to Make Pastries: Pastry dough can be temperamental to work with, to say the least. Find tips on how to work with it and make delicious pastries only at HowStuffWorks.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about everything from selecting the proper baking pan to cooling and frosting a finished cake.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make a Lattice Crust Pie

Weaving a lattice top crust on a pie or tart is an elegant yet easy way to elevate your creation to a whole new level. You can achieve the effect without actually weaving and interspersing the strips.
  1. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to a 10-inch square. Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

    Use a pizza wheel to cut dough into strips when making lattice crust pie pastries.
    Use a pizza wheel to cut dough into strips.
  2. Arrange 4 or 5 strips of dough lengthwise across filling at regular intervals. Arrange another 4 or 5 strips of dough crosswise across top. Press ends of dough strips into edge of crust. Bake until golden brown.

    Arrange dough lengthwise and crosswise when making lattice crust pie pastries.
    Arrange strips lengthwise
    and then crosswise.

Decorative cutouts in pie crust can really create a sensational look. Learn more in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Pie Recipes: From fruit to cream, the variety of pie recipes in our collection is sure to make your mouth water. Find the one (or several) you're looking for here.
  • How to Make Pastries: Pastry dough can be temperamental to work with, to say the least. Find tips on how to work with it and make delicious pastries only at HowStuffWorks.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about everything from selecting the proper baking pan to cooling and frosting a finished cake.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make Pie Crust Cutouts

For extra special occasions, make the top crust of your double-crust pie really spectacular with pretty pie crust cutouts.
  1. Cut out decorative designs in the top crust with a sharp paring knife, reserving the scraps. Re-roll dough scraps and cut out decorative elements such as flowers and leaves.

    Cut out decorative designs with a paring knife when making pretty pie crust cutouts for pastries.
    Cut out decorative designs
    with a paring knife.
  2. Brush top crust with milk. Place shapes on pie and bake according to recipe directions for a truly beautiful dessert.

    Place cutouts on pie when making pretty pie crust cutouts for pastries.
    Place shapes on pie.

Meringue pie is a favorite of many. Find tips for making meringue in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Pie Recipes: From fruit to cream, the variety of pie recipes in our collection is sure to make your mouth water. Find the one (or several) you're looking for here.
  • How to Make Pastries: Pastry dough can be temperamental to work with, to say the least. Find tips on how to work with it and make delicious pastries only at HowStuffWorks.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about everything from selecting the proper baking pan to cooling and frosting a finished cake.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make Pie Meringue

A pie topped with meringue is always beautiful to behold. It's also delicious to eat! Here's how to make this fluffy topper for pies and tarts.
  1. Begin by separating egg yolks from egg whites. Gently tap egg in center against a hard surface, such as the side of bowl. Holding shell half in each hand, gently transfer yolk back and forth between the 2 shell halves. Allow white to drip down between the 2 halves into bowl.

    Separate egg yolks from whites when making meringue for pastries.
    Separate egg yolks from whites.
  2. When all the white has dripped into bowl, place yolk in another bowl. Transfer white to third bowl. Repeat with remaining eggs. Egg whites must be free from any egg yolk to reach proper volume when beaten.

  3. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in clean large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually beat 1/4 cup granulated sugar until stiff peaks form.

    Beat with electric mixer until foamy when making meringue for pastries.
    Beat with electric mixer until foamy.
  4. After beaters are lifted from egg white mixture, stiff peaks should remain on top, and when bowl is tilted, mixture will not slide around.

    Look for stiff peaks. Mixture should not move when bowl is tilted when making meringues for pastries.
    Look for stiff peaks. Mixture should
    not move when bowl is tilted.
  5. Spread meringue over pie filling with rubber spatula, making sure it completely covers filling and touches edge of crust.

  6. Create decorative peaks and swirls by twisting and lifting spatula while spreading meringue.

  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until meringue is golden. Cool completely on wire rack.

Now that you have the knowledge to make a variety of different pies, all you need is practice. Get baking!

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Pie Recipes: From fruit to cream, the variety of pie recipes in our collection is sure to make your mouth water. Find the one (or several) you're looking for here.
  • How to Make Pastries: Pastry dough can be temperamental to work with, to say the least. Find tips on how to work with it and make delicious pastries only at HowStuffWorks.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about everything from selecting the proper baking pan to cooling and frosting a finished cake.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.