The term “easy as pie” makes sense only to those who have never tried to actually make a pie. You guys know what I’m talking about, right? Too brown and crunchy crust or too soggy bottom crust. How to avoid these common pitfalls and make making a pie genuinely become “as easy as pie” every time?
One of the most common problems in making a pie is that in order to get the innards of the pie cooked to perfect, you have to sacrifice the crust that forms the ring around the rosy. Heat has a way of not knowing it is supposed to be as high on thin pie crust around the lip of the pan as it in the deeper waters in the middle. There is a way around this, however. You could try putting tinfoil around the perimeter, but that’s going to waste time and probably not work too well anyway. A much better solution is to buy an aluminum pie plate that is ever so slightly larger than the pie plate you use for cooking. Cut a ring out of the aluminum pie plate that is a perfect fit around the crust of your pie. Place the ring over the crust and bake as usual. The result? A nicely browned pie crust instead of a crunchy nearly-black pie crust.
If you prefer crust of a flakier nature than you are normally getting when you pull the pie out of the oven, here’s the trick. And it’s a simple one. So simple that you may knock yourself upside the head for not realizing it earlier. The key to getting a flaky pie crust is to chill out. Literally. Keep the pie crust cold, the pie filling cold and, if you make crust by hand, use cold water. Don’t allow the pie to come to room temperature, but get it into the oven while it is still on the cool side. When that pie is taken from the oven, what you will have is a buttery flaky crust from which you may never go back to the dark side.
Twice is Nice
Ever baked two pies at the same time and had them come out equally done at the same time? Probably not if you have not baked a lot of pie in your lifetime. It is possible to place two pies in the same oven and have the come out at the exact same time in roughly the same state of done-ness. The key is spacing. Contrary to what you may possibly have been told, sticking two pie pans up against each other inside the oven does not have the effect of transferring the heat from one to the other, thus reducing baking time. You need to keep both pies at least a good two inches from other…while at the very same time making sure that you put space between the opposite side of the pies and the walls of the oven. You can also ensure a more even distribution of heat by baking pies directly on the rack and not covering the rack with either a cookie sheet for aluminum foil.