Let’s solve every pie problem you can throw at us


The leaves are shifting, the temperature is dropping, the holidays are drawing ever nearer, and you know what that indicates: It is pie season. But pie can absolutely be fickle, and tricky, and infuriating to make. You should have an specialist on pie—someone whose pies have been advisable by every person from theVillage Voice to theFood Network—to help you with your most vexing issues.


I seriously like the keep-acquired pie crust I use. Is there any motive I should get started earning my possess?

If you like the pie crust you are applying, there’s no purpose you will need to start out producing it you. I love earning my have pie dough mainly because I locate it enjoyable, but I can uncover it comforting because I have been executing that because I was 13. If it’s stressing you out, or you only just really don’t want to do it, then it is fantastic to use the packaged kind. The middle of the pie is exactly where all the good motion takes place, in any case.

How do you make a lattice leading crust? I always make a mess of it.

Nailing a lattice is all about paying out interest and not speeding your self. If you’re a newbie, never make your lattice straight on best of the pie—do it on a piece of parchment paper off to the side. Use a marker to draw a circle about three” larger than your pie plate, then flip the parchment over so you can even now see the circle and not worry about getting ink on your dough. As soon as your pie has been loaded, put it in the freezer to remain cold although you patiently operate on the lattice. If the dough commences to get a little bit also warm, set the parchment into the freezer for a couple minutes to agency up a little bit ahead of continuing. When the lattice is finished, slide it off the paper onto the best of the pie, then crimp the edges jointly and trim off any extra dough.

If you attempt that and you are nonetheless not owning any luck, do what my good close friend and pie queen Cathy Barrow does: make “lazy lattice.” First organize all your strips likely one way, then convert the pie 90 levels, include the relaxation of your strips, brush it with some egg wash, and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar. When it comes out of the oven, no one particular will discover the lattice isn’t woven. They’ll just be delighted that they’ve obtained pie.

My apple pies often bubble in excess of and end up burnt with pie goo all above the top crust. How can I end that? 

To start with, a quick idea: When you’re baking something—anything—that could feasibly bubble above, put a baking sheet on the oven rack beneath it. If things bubble about on to the base of the oven they’re heading to start out using tobacco, and that smoke can impart a rather unwelcome taste to your dish. A baking sheet will save your foods, and save you from possessing to clean up your oven.

Now, precise to apple pies: If your filling is bubbling more than, it’s for the reason that there’s also much moisture in there. You are probably tossing in some flour or starch to thicken all that up—plus apples consist of pectin, which is what thickens up jams and jellies—but if there is way too a lot liquid to get started with, your apple pie will turn into an apple volcano spewing white-warm sugar lava, which is no bueno.

There are two various sources of dampness in your pie filling: the apples and the sugar. (In certain baking scenarios, sugar is considered to be a liquid ingredient, the complexities of which are anything we’ll tackle one more day. Pinky swear.) Business apples like Granny Smiths, Honeycrisps, and Winesaps are referred to as “baking apples” due to the fact their mobile structure is solid ample that they not only retain from turning into mush when cooked, but also will not be impacted by the presence of sugar. Sugar definitely adores moisture and will suck it up any chance it receives (us food items folks contact thishygroscopicity), so when you toss it with apples, it’ll begin leeching all that sweet apple juice, and that juice will, in turn, dissolve the sugar, turning it into liquid syrup. It is the circle of everyday living, in pie type!

To tackle your difficulty, we have to have to suck out some moisture prior to baking, which is outrageous straightforward to do: Toss your reduce apples in a bowl with a tablespoon of sugar (I like brown sugar, due to the fact it’s further delicious), then leave them out on the counter for at least thirty minutes. Drain off the excess liquid into a glass (it is delightful!), then make your pie as your recipe instructs.

Photo: StephanieFrey (iStock)

What’s the very best unwanted fat for me to be making use of? Butter? Lard? Shortening?

What matters is locating the excess fat that is greatest foryou, and that all relies upon on your individual flavor. Some folks like a super flaky crust, some like theirs tender and buttery. So, to start off, just knock that “best” concept out of your head. The only human being who desires to be impressed with your pie is on your own.

The initial major big difference in between fat: flavor. We all know what butter preferences like, and pie doughs produced with it—even if they are failures—taste great. Shortening and lard are rather flavorless, which is not a terrible factor. At times all you want from your pie dough is texture, and don’t want any additional flavors competing with your filling.

Up coming change: temperature. Butter is soft at place temperature, and totally melts at temperatures not substantially increased than that: About ninety-ninety five levels Fahrenheit. It is essential to note that butter is a extra fat/h2o emulsion—not100% fat—which is why it melts more rapidly, so creating it more durable for a rookie to perform with. Building an all-butter pie crust has anything to do with regulating temperature and comprehension the really feel of the dough, and that will take practice.

Shortening and lard are equally sound at place temperature: Lard’s melting place falls someplace between a hundred-110 degrees, and shortening can hold its structure up to about 120 levels. Quite a few swear by these two fats to get an ultra-flaky pie dough, and they are not completely wrong! A substantial melting stage signifies that just aboutany personcan properly make a flaky pie crust with both shortening or lard, even though acquiring flakes with butter calls for a bit of talent. If you are a beginner looking for a more foolproof dough, use shortening until finally you commence having extra comfy with pie, then you can make the alternative to try your hand at an all-butter crust. If you seriously had your coronary heart established on a flaky, buttery crust but really don’t assume you can pull it off, use butter-flavored shortening.

How far in advance can I make pie dough?

My philosophy on pie dough: If you’re heading to go by means of the hassle of creating it, you could possibly as properly make a total bunch. Refrigerated, a ball of pie dough will very last up to 3 days frozen, three months. My private pie process: I roll out several pie crusts into disposable aluminum pie pans, then freeze til stable. I then stack them on prime of every single other with a sq. of parchment between them and wrap properly in plastic, or slide into a freezer bag. If you have chosen not to preroll your frozen dough, just depart it in the refrigerator in excess of