With Thanksgiving fast approaching, your pie-making skills might need to be sharpened. Today I’m sharing my top 5 tips for pie crust perfection:
1. Keep it cool. Temperature is everything when it comes to working with pie dough, so keep it chilled until the precise moment you need to work with it. It shouldn’t rest on the counter for more than a minute or two. If your dough is getting warm and sticky, put it back in the fridge and get it cool again.
2. Less is more. The more you roll, touch, or work with your dough, the more you lose the light, flakey texture you’re after. You might be tempted to roll and re-roll to get it looking perfect, but that will affect the taste. Keep your contact at a minimum!
3. Lard is a good word. This is really the secret ingredient for a flavorful, flakey crust. Lard can be hard to find in the regular grocery store, but I’ve had great luck finding it in specialty Mexican stores. Chill lard in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before adding it to your dough.
4. Play the flute. If you use a top crust, you have to remember to cut ventilation into the top. This is called “fluting” and will allow the pie to breathe and the top crust to remain beautifully intact. You can use cookie cutters to create interesting shapes, or even a sharp knife to cut some simple, decorative vents.
5. Egg it on. A simple egg wash (one egg beaten with one teaspoon of water or milk) brushed on your pie crust gives it that smooth, golden glow.