Holiday Pie Decorating Tips for Absolute Beginners

Is pie baking…as easy as pie? Beginner bakers panic about putting together a picture-perfect pie, but it shouldn’t be intimidating. After all, pies are best with a little rustic charm.

If you’re ready to step up to the pie plate this holiday season, we have tips for putting together an easy dessert that’s sure to please all your festive guests.

Getting Started

Prep your kitchen before getting to work and set aside a large surface to work on. You’ll need enough counter or table space for rolling, cutting and assembling.

Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry your workspace. Once the counter space is cleaned, generously sprinkle the surface with flour. Keep a little extra nearby for reapplying as you work.

Pie Making Tools

You’ll want to keep a few tools on hand. We recommend the following:

  • Sharp paring knife
  • Fork
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • 9-inch foil pie pan

Pie Ingredients

Most basic pies can be put together with a simple pie filling and a traditional pie crust. We used readymade, frozen crusts and pie fillings in our test kitchen. If you’re feeling ambitious enough to make your dough and filling from scratch, we applaud you!

How to Make a Classic Two-Crust Pie

The two-crust fruit pie is an essential classic. A classic apple pie is often made with two crusts – a bottom crust and a covering crust.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package Pillsbury Frozen Pie Crusts
  • 1 can premade pie filling (apple, cherry or other fruit mixture of your choice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Take the package of frozen pie crust out of the fridge and thaw to room temperature.
  3. Place one of the crusts into a 9-inch foil pie pan or pie dish. Press firmly to fill the pie dish. Be careful not to tear the dough. If you have too much excess dough on the sides, take a sharp paring knife and cut dough around the edge of the pie dish.
  4. Pour in fruit mixture or filling. Make sure the mixture is spread evenly in the piecrust.
  5. Take the second crust and gently place it over the bottom crust and mixture. Press the edges of the top crust gently into the edge of the bottom crust to seal.
  6. Trim pie edges with your desired design (see section).
  7. With a sharp knife, cut four equally spaced ovals around the center of the pie. These designs are more than decoration. The holes in the crust allow heat to escape the pie as it is baking. Without them, the pie crust would crack from all the built-up steam.
  8. Take the dough ovals cut from the pie crust and place them on top of the crust in between each oval hole. This creates a simple decoration. Brush with egg wash.
  9. Bake pie for 45 minutes or as directed for other specific two-crust pie recipes. After baking, allow the pie to cool on a rack for at least two hours before serving.

How to Make a Lattice-Top Pie Crust

Lattice-crusted pies look more complicated than they really are. With a little attention to weaving, you’ll quickly put together an impressive crust.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package Pillsbury Frozen Pie Crusts
  • 1 can premade pie filling (apple, cherry or fruit mixture of your choice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Take the package of frozen pie crusts out of the fridge and thaw to room temperature. You want dough chilled, but workable.
  3. Place one of the crusts into a 9-inch foil pie pan or pie dish. Press firmly to fill the pie dish. Be careful not to tear the dough.
  4. Pour in pie mixture. (We used cherry!) Make sure the mixture is spread evenly in the pie crust.
  5. Take the second pie crust and cut it into 10 one-inch width strips on a floured surface.
  6. Take five strips and lay them one inch apart on top of the pie. Do not press the dough strips into the bottom crust layer yet.
  7. Take one of the remaining strips and weave it perpendicular to the already placed strips. To weave, lay the strip alternatively under and over the already placed strips. Repeat with the other strips until you create a lattice grid.
  8. Press the edges of the strips into the edges of the bottom crust. Fold over excess dough if necessary. Trim edges with desired design method
  9. Brush with egg wash.
  10. Bake pie for 45 minutes. After baking, allow the pie to cool on a rack for at least two hours before serving.

How to Make Simple, Decorative Crust Pieces

Many bakers add flair to their pies by cutting out shapes from pie dough. These shapes of dough are added on top or to the edge of a pie crust. While some are intricate and take mastering, other shapes are easy to practice.

Leaves are an easy and beautiful design to add to your pie.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 Pillsbury Frozen Pie Crust
  • Sharp paring knife

Instructions

  1. Unroll the chilled pie crust on a floured surface. The dough should be slightly thawed, but still chilled.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut oval leaf shapes out of the dough.
  3. Take the oval shapes and lightly press your knife in the center of each one. Without cutting through the dough, make a firm line down the center.
  4. Vein out several smaller lines from the center to make leaf details.
  5. If the dough leaves feel like they’ve become too thawed and droopy, place them back in the fridge to chill before placing them on your pie crust. This will help them keep their shape while baking.
  6. Once chilled, you can place the leaves on the edge or on top of a pie crust. Brush with an egg wash and bake according to the recipe.

Simple Pie Edge Designs

A little extra effort can give your pie trim a professional look. Two basic options are explained below.

Fork method

With the pronged edge of a fork, press firmly into the edges of the piecrust. Turn the pie as you go, covering the entire rim with ridges.

Finger method

With your pointer finger, firmly press down on the edge of the pie crust to make a divot. Repeat again every inch until the edge has a scalloped look.

Extra Pie Tips

Here are a few extra tips to keep your pie looking pretty.

How to Give Your Pie a Professional Finish with an Egg Wash

As mentioned in the instructions above, a simple egg wash will give your pie a glossy, bakery-worthy finished. To make the wash, whisk the yolk of one egg with a tablespoon of milk or cream in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to spread the wash over your pie crust. For an extra touch, sprinkle the egg wash with raw sugar before baking.

Use a foil or silicone ring to keep edges from burning

The edges of a pie can sometimes burn easily. Don’t sweat it – even experienced bakers face this issue when working with an ill-tempered oven.

You can buy a silicone pie ring that’s made specifically to cover the round edge of a pie. If you can’t find one, you can fashion a covering with foil. Roll out about two feet of foil paper. Fold foil into a one and ½ inch strip and begin forming a ring.

To use, place the ring over the pie’s edge halfway through baking. This should help the thinner edges from getting too brown.

If all else fails, visit the Homeland Bakery

If your pie flops, Homeland has you covered. Stop by our bakery as you check off your Thanksgiving grocery list. From pecan to pumpkin, we have plenty of pie options to please all your holiday guests!

Your shopping doesn’t have to stop there. Pick up everything you need, including the turkey, for seasonal cooking!

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