Tips on Making Pies

The holidays are a popular time for pies. Whether you are a pie making pro or novice, there are always useful tips to pick up here and there. Similar to breads, pies require only a few ingredients – but how you put them together makes all the difference between a remarkable pie and average one.

One thing to keep in mind is that practice does pay off. So do patience, preparation and passion. After many years, we have learned to be particular about a few details. Here are three important tips:

1.    Choose ripe seasonal fruit

2.     Take time to cut the fruit to an appropriate size

3.     Drain off any excess juices

Our collection of pie recipes in Leslie’s cookbook More from Macrina, starts with her master recipe for Flaky Pie Dough. Tasty and versatile, the Flaky Pie Dough can be used for many pie and tartlet recipes. In an effort to “modernize” the recipe, Leslie tweaked a few things. The main change was to eliminate the solid vegetable shortening in favor of palm shortening (which has no trans fats). A few years ago she also recalibrated the ratio of shortening to butter.

One tip Leslie picked up from her mom – take the scraps and brush them with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, twist, and then bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, or until the pieces are golden brown. They make a great treat.

If you do have quite a bit of pie dough left over from the first day, wrap it well in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Freezing the dough is also an option: the dough will keep, wellwrapped, for up to one month.

Lattice-top pies are the prettiest of all. If you’re looking for a challenge or something different, try making a lacelike pie top!