My favorite time of the year is when it's time to bake pies. Fruit, cream, chocolate. You name it, I love it.
Unless you bake a lot of pies, it can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. For this season, I've gathered all my favorite tips for baking almost any kind of pie, and I'm sharing those with you here.
Plan to make everything from scratch. This means no store-bought pie crust or canned pie filling. If you're going to the trouble of making a pie, why not make it the best it can be? It's not nearly as difficult as it seems.
For the crust:
Make sure your ingredients are COLD, especially fat. Ice cold butter, water, and even flour can make things a lot easier and result in a flakier pie crust.
Butter gives pie crust the best buttery flavor, while shortening makes a pie crust extra flakey. A combination of those will result in the best of both worlds.
To keep your dough cold while you roll it, a marble or other solid stone surface is best. Also the warmer your kitchen, the harder it will be to keep dough from sticking. You can roll your crust between two sheets of parchment to help.
For a double crust pie, vent the top crust. This can be as simple as a slice or an intricate design if you've got the skills.
For the filling:
For fruit pies, taste your fruit before you use it. Depending on the sweetness, you can reduce or add more sugar. A fruit pie is done when the fruit is bubbly and golden.
For custard or pecan pies, you will know it's done when the center is slightly jiggly. It will set as it cools.
Other pie tips:
Bake a pie cold. After you've put your pie together It will bake better, and will have a better texture.
Slice a cold pie. You should never cut a hot or warm pie. Let your pie come to room temperature and then chill until cold before slicing. Your slices will look better, your filling won't pool out, and you'll have a firm, even texture.