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Pie Making Tips

  • Pies are baked at higher temperatures (375F to 425F) than cakes bake at, so the rich pastry dries and becomes flaky and golden brown and the filling cooks all the way through.

  • To keep pie crust and pastry edges from getting too brown, you can shield them with aluminum foil. Remove the foil 15 minutes before baking is finished so the edges can brown.

  • For an unfilled one-crust pie crust, always prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork before baking. The steam created in baking can escape through the holes so the crust won't puff up and leave no room to add the filling!

  • For one-crust pies that bake the filling in the shell, such as pumpkin and pecan pies, do not prick the crust. If you do, the filling will seep under the crust during baking.

  • It seems there is a variety of apple for nearly every letter of the alphabet, from Beacon (sweet and mealy) to York Imperial (slightly tart and crisp).

  • In addition, look at the supermarket because some display information near the apples, especially near locally grown varieties, give details whether the apple is best for baking, cooking or eating.

  • Some bakers mix apple varieties in a single pie, combining tart with sweet or crisp with mealy. This is a great way to personalize a recipe, but perfecting takes a bit of trial and error.

  • Because apples shrink quite a bit during baking, a pie may have a gap between the apples and the crust. Using tart, firm apples helps, layering so there isn't too much space between them. Making larger holes in the top crust also helps.

  • You can cut the baking time of an apple pie in half by using a microwave-able pie plate. Microwave your unbaked pie uncovered on High 12 to 14 minutes or until the filling begins to bubble through the slits in the crust. Then transfer the pie to a conventional oven (do not preheat), and bake at 450 F for 12 to 18 minutes or until the crust is brown and flaky.

  • When berries are plentiful, nothing is better than baking them in a pie. Although many recipes nearly always give tips for using frozen fruit that's available year-round, using frozen fruit just isn't the same as coming home from the farmers' market or roadside stand with baskets of locally grown berries to fill a pastry you've made yourself.

  • Want to shave some calories from your pie? Look for recipes without an upper crust.

  • One difficulty that occurs when baking a pumpkin or sweet potato pie is that the crust rises up during baking. To prevent this, be sure to carefully ease the pastry circle you have rolled into the pie plate, then make sure no air is trapped between the pastry and plate. Also, check that there is no hole or tear in the crust that will allow unbaked filling to soak through the crust and cause it to rise.

  • If your baked pumpkin or sweet potato pie separates from the crust or develops a split in the center, it is a sign that the pie was baked too long or at too high a temperature. Test for doneness 1 inch from the edge using a knife; the knife should come out clean.


 

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