Piper's Golden Rules of Pie:
Dare we say that our pie-baker-in-chief is a little opinionated? Thank goodness GCB cuisine director Piper Davis is, because we're counting on her for some solid pie baking advice for the run up to the fall and winter holidays. Listen up:
Make your pies ahead of time. Pies keep for a few days, and some even improve over time, such as Pecan Pie. So go ahead and bake them the day before Thanksgiving, or early the morning of. Store them at cool room temperature a protected shelf in the garage or a back porch, not in the refrigerator. If you like warm pie, refresh it by heating for 15-20 minutes in a conventional oven set to 300 degrees - not the microwave, which will make the crust soggy.
Don't overfill the pie shell when using a liquid filling. There's almost always extra pumpkin custard pour it in slowly, stopping just below the edge of the crust. Bake leftover filling in a ramekin as a treat for the cook.
For apple pie, sugar the sliced apples ahead of time let them sit for an hour or so. This draws some of the moisture out, so you don't end up with a dome of top crust and deflated apple filling underneath. Use firm, predominantly tart apples so the filling doesn't become applesauce.
When pre-baking or “blind baking” a single crust a step which prevents a soggy-crusted pumpkin pie -- fill the pie shell all the way up to its crimped edge with dried beans or pie weights (after lining it with a piece of foil or parchment paper). This keeps the pastry sides from shrinking down into the pan.
Bake it hot. Always start baking a pie in a pre-heated oven, set to at least 375 degrees, on the center rack or lower rack. This sets the crust, making it crisp and flaky. Reduce the oven temperature after 30 minutes or so and rotate the pie to complete the baking time. Another tip for a crisp bottom crust: Bake the pie directly on a preheated pizza stone.
Bake it long enough. Even experienced bakers tend to underbake pies, which means the bottom turns out soggy. The crust should be deep golden brown and, for fruit pies, the filling bubbling. For pumpkin and other custard pies, bake until the filling is set but the center still shakes a bit - the filling will continue to set as the pie cools.
Serve with whipped cream, not ice cream. No one will get hurt if you ignore this advice. But whipped cream is a bit lighter and more elegant for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Always bake more than you think you need. That way you'll have leftover pie to eat for breakfast!
Watch our video on weaving a lattice-top pie crust.
Browse our delicious pie recipes for filling your U-Bake crust.