Easy Upgrades for Piecrusts

With a little dough know-how, ordinary pies can become extraordinary ones.

  • Ken Haedrich
  • Flute the edge (shown): Sculpt an upstanding ridge with the overhanging dough. Put your thumb on the inside of the dough and your index finger on the outside of the pastry. Keeping those two fingers at a 45-degree angle, pinch the dough around the entire edge. For a double-crust pie, attach the top pastry, trim the overhang, and sculpt an upstanding ridge. Proceed as above.
  • Square it up: Every dessert table in America will feature a round pie on Thanksgiving. Instead, tuck your pie dough into a square brownie pan. (An 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan will require a 12-by-12-inch piece of dough.) For the bottom crust, make one disk of pastry slightly larger than the other and shape it into a rough square. Use the smaller disk for the top crust.
  • Create a crostata: Make a free-form fruit pie. Roll your pastry into a circle 13 1/2 inches in diameter and invert onto a large cookie sheet. Arrange the fruit filling in an 8-inch circle in the center. Using a spatula, fold up the uncovered border into the center; it will self-pleat as you fold it around the fruit. Bake as you would a regular pie, until the juices bubble thickly. This works best with not-too-juicy fruit fillings, such as apple or pear.