We love baking pies for gatherings with family and friends, and since freshly baked pies are always better, we have gathered a few of our favorite tips that will help you during dinner parties and the holiday season that can be used all-year round – because as far as we are concerned, every day should be pie-eating day.
- Make pie-crust dough well ahead so that it has time to chill – at least 2 hours, but we like overnight; it will roll more easily, as the gluten (protein) will have time to relax. Ever had a pie crust fight back, where every time you roll it out it seems to want to shrink back? Chilling and resting the crust will eliminate this problem.
- Lightly flour your work surface for rolling; too much flour will toughen the pie crust. If the room is warm or your hands are warm, lightly flour your rolling pin and hands as well.
- Use the proper-size pie plate as suggested in each recipe; they are not interchangeable. A standard 9-inch will give you different results from a 9-inch deep-dish.
- Coat your pie plate with nonstick spray to make serving easier.
- Make sure your oven is preheated properly. Many pies need a very hot oven in order to set the crust quickly. Some bakers get good results placing a baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven as it preheats, then place your pie plate upon that hot surface.
- Classic pumpkin pie fillings and pecan pie fillings can be made the day before and refrigerated in an airtight container. Then just stir, pour and bake!
And our #1 Time Saver Tip:
- Crusts can be rolled out on parchment, rolled up, wrapped well in plastic wrap, then frozen up to a month ahead (or refrigerated for up to 3 days) – this is a huge time saver. We like to store them in round mailer tubes (get the 18-inch) so that the crusts don’t get crushed. It’s like having refrigerator crusts on hand at all times – but homemade and so much better. Then just defrost, unroll, place in pan and you are ready to bake!
Images: Dédé Wilson