Pro Tips for Holiday Pies

One of our favorite things about Thanksgiving and Christmas is the pie! From apple pie to sweet potato pie to pumpkin and beyond (oh wait, we forgot pecan pie and banana cream!), pie is the best way to end a holiday meal. Here are our best tips for making sure your pies turn out great!

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read
The Quick And Dirty

Before you start making your pies for the holidays, make sure you have these items in your kitchen: vodka (not for drinking!), aluminum foil, ground spice, egg whites, and vegetable oil. 

How to Get a Flaky Crust

Even if your pie’s filling is near perfection, you won’t win any accolades unless the crust is nice and flaky. Be sure that any liquid added to your pie crust is ice cold. In fact, anything hot that’s involved with your crust will affect it—even your kitchen and equipment should be on the cool side. Another trick? Replace half of the called-for water with vodka! The ethanol in vodka stops the growth of gluten, which makes the crust tough. You’ll end up with a lighter crust without any difference in taste!

How to Keep Crusts from Breaking When You Serve

You’ll impress even Martha Stewart with this pie crust tip. After you’ve crimped the crust, but before you place your work of art in the oven, go around the edge again, this time carefully lifting the crust ever-so-slightly from the dish so it won’t stick while baking. When you serve pieces “just like Grandma made,” they’ll come out in one clean swoop rather than with insides slopped on the plate followed by hacked-up pieces of crust.

See Also: Infographic: Holiday Hacks You Need This Thanksgiving

Keep Pie Crusts from Burning

If you’re making a pecan pie, pumpkin pie, or any other pie without a crust on top, it’s easy for the edges to burn in the oven. Keep your pie crusts from burning or getting too brown by covering the edges of your pie with strips of aluminum foil.

Make a Delicious Flavored Crust

Next time you make a pie, add a little flavor to the crust by sprinkling a little ground spice into the flour. We love using cinnamon or apple pie spice in our holiday pies!

How to Get a Shiny Pie Crust

Do you want your pies to glisten like those in the bakery? It’s easy: just beat an egg white and brush it over the crust before baking. This works especially well for a pie that has a crust cover, like an apple pie or peach pie.

How to Get a Pie Out of a Pan

Pies, especially those with graham cracker crusts, can be difficult to remove from the pan. However, if you dip the bottom of the pan in warm water for 10 seconds, the pie will come right out without any damage.

Serving Tip for Cream Pies

Spray a small amount of vegetable oil on your knife before cutting a pie with a cream filling. This will stop the filling from sticking to the knife.

How to Prevent Soggy Fruit Pie Bottoms

It’s always disappointing when you slice into your carefully prepared blueberry pie only to find that the bottom is soggy. If you have a problem with fruit or fruit juices soaking your pie crust and making it too wet, brush the bottom with egg white before adding the filling. This will seal the crust and solve the problem. If your fruit filling is simply too wet, thicken it up. The best thickener is 3–4 tablespoons of minute tapioca: Mix it with the sugar before adding to the fruit. Other solutions for soggy pie bottoms include prebaking the pie crust, partially cooking the filling, or brushing the crust with jelly before you fill it. When using a cream filling in a pie, sprinkle the crust with granulated sugar before adding to prevent a soggy crust.

For more cooking tips from all around the internet, check out our In the Kitchen board on Pinterest.  And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Image by Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.