Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Maggie Battista, a.k.a. EatBoutique, shows us how to get creative with pie -- beyond the filling.
I have a love-hate relationship with pie. And before you gasp, let's talk about it.
There are, perhaps, a thousand reasons to love pie. Consider the perfect ratio of a half-tart, half-sweet fruity filling, or a rich pie crust that's at once crisp and tender, or even the scoop of vanilla ice cream or the mass of whipped cream (or both) that always finds its way to my slice. That's almost ten reasons right there.
But once you've mastered the perfect pie crust or found a frozen crust you love in a pinch, the creativity of the pie presentation generally evaporates. Conditioned to simply slap a flat top crust on it or maybe a lattice design, I mentally file pie into my "least creative kitchen tasks" folder.
As a food gift lover and evangelist, I'm ashamed to admit these feelings toward pie. After all, pie is generally designed to be the epitome of food gift love, the workhorse of the food gift spectrum that keeps on giving slice after slice, a food that is both gift and gift box in one. But seriously, when I want to let loose and flex my creative muscles in the kitchen, I just don't make pie.
A few weeks back, I stepped out of my flat-top-crust box and, with a few random kitchen tools, reinvigorated my pie making. With pizza wheel, cookie cutter, and paper and pencil in hand, I found a way to love pie -- for good.
Put a Flower on It
Roll out your raw pie dough onto a floured surface. With a pizza wheel, cut the dough into very thin triangles. Place the pointy side of each triangle in the center of your filled pie and lay them gently out toward the outer edge of the pie plate. Overlap many of the triangles but leave a few gaps for fruit to bubble up through the cracks. Place a small circle of pie dough in the center over all the triangle tips. Brush with an egg wash and bake.
Seaside Shingled Cape
Roll out your raw pie dough onto a floured surface. With square cookie cutters of various sizes, cut up the dough into small individual squares. Layer them in a slightly overlapping pattern. You may need a little extra dough to finish your masterpiece. Brush with an egg wash and bake.
Spell It Out
Roll out your raw pie dough onto a floured surface. On top of parchment paper cut to generally the same size and shape as your dough, hand-draw your desired letters or numbers. (You may also opt to print out the letters or numbers on a printer and trace them onto your parchment paper.) Once you are pleased with your drawing, place the parchment with your drawing on top of your raw pie dough. With your pencil, lightly press over the outline you've made so that it leaves a slight impression in the dough. Remove the parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut out your letters or numbers. Carefully lift each piece of dough and place them on top of your filled pie. Brush with an egg wash and bake.
What's your favorite way to top a pie?
Photos by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio