As we move away from fruit-filled summer pies and head into fall, it’s time to conquer a classic pie crust and add some decorative designs to our baking bag of tricks. From skinny, wide and braided lattice tops to fluted edges and free-from cut outs, the combinations are just as endless and creative as the fillings inside.

In general, the cooler you keep the dough and the less it’s handled, the better it’ll be to work with. However, this is easier said than done. When rolling out dough or making decorative pieces, limit the amount of kneading as well as the use of additional flour. If the dough becomes too tacky or warm, just pop it back in the refrigerator for a bit. When gathering scraps to re-roll, try to layer them on top of each other to keep the baked crust flaky. Got leftovers? Wrap them well in plastic, and store in the freezer for up to a few months.

Whether you weave an intricate, plaid design or go with a more traditional, rustic top crust, one thing is for sure: you’re going to have one delicious pie.

Braided Pie

Braided Pie
This contemporary design gives great coverage to the top of a pie, but with some extra whimsy. Braid lengths of pie dough together and fit them over the top of the filling. Try varying the widths of the braids and the space in between for different looks!

You’ll Need:
Double-crusted pie dough
Filling of choice
Egg-wash (optional)
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare bottom crust and fill the pie. Chill for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roll out top crust to about 1/4-inch into a large rectangular shape.
3. Using a ruler and pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut dough into long, 3/4-inch strips. You’ll need about 15 to 21 strips, depending on desired thickness and spacing in between.

Braided Pie
4. Gather strips into sets of 3. Pinch tops of each set together.
5. Keeping strips flat, begin a classic 3-strand braid. Trying not to stretch dough, braid the length of each set of strands. The longest braid should be slightly longer than the diameter of pie pan.
6. Lay braids over pie filling, parallel to each other.

Braided Pie
7. Trim braids so they overhang the edge of the pie by 1/2 to 3/4-inch on each side.
8. Fold excess dough from bottom crust up and over edges of the braids and press together.

Braided Pie
9. To create a fluted edge, pinch the dough between the thumb of your dominant hand the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand. Continue around the entire edge of the pie.
10. Refrigerate pie for 15 to 30 minutes as the oven pre-heats.
Brush with an egg-wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired), and bake according to your recipe or until golden brown.

Lattice-Pie

Classic Lattice Pie
Think fresh apple pie chilling on a windowsill. This basic design weaves strips of pie dough together to create a classic top crust. The over-under technique is not difficult to master, and once you’ve got it down, the designs are endless! Try weaving skinny pieces or wide pieces, or a combination to create a fun plaid. You could even sneak in a few braided pieces, too.

You’ll Need:
Double-crusted pie dough
Filling of choice
Egg-wash (optional)
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare bottom crust and fill the pie. Chill for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roll out top crust to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch into a large, oval shape.
3. Using a ruler and pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut dough into 1 to 2-inch wide strips. The centre strips should be slightly longer than the diameter of the pie pan. You’ll need about 6 to 10 strips to create the lattice top, depending on desired width and spacing in between.

Lattice Pie
4. Lay 1/2 of strips over top of filling, all in the same direction.
5. Gently pull back and fold over every-other strip about halfway.
6. Lay 1 strip perpendicular to first set, next to folded edges, then replace folded strips over top of the newest strip to start the weave.
7. From the first set, gently pull back strips that did not get folded during the last round.

Lattice Pie
8. Repeat step 6 with another strip.
9. Continue this over-under motion with the remaining strips until the weave covers the entire top of the pie.
10. Trim strips so they overhang the edge of pie pan by about 1 inch.
11. Gently tuck both the overhanging pieces from top lattice and bottom crust under and press together all the way around the pie.

Lattice Pie
12. Crimp pieces together and press into the edge of the pie pan firmly with tines of a fork. Make sure each piece is secure. Refrigerate pie for 15 to 30 minutes as the oven pre-heats.
13. Brush with an egg-wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired) and bake according to your recipe or until golden brown.

 

fishtail lattice pie

Fishtail Cut-Out Pie
Once you’ve got your lattice and braids down, try combining both techniques together in this show-stopping pie. A tight lattice covers the centre while a double, five-strand fishtail braid creates the border. A few free-form leaves add extra flair and even hide the seams of the braids.

You’ll Need:
2 to 3 single crust pie dough
Flling of choice
Egg-wash (optional)
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare the bottom crust and fill the pie. Chill for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roll out half of the remaining dough about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick.
3. Using a ruler and a pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut very thin strips, about 1/2 inch wide and 7 to 8 inches long. You’ll need about 16 to 20 strips.
4. Following the directions of classic lattice design, weave together thin strips on top of the filled pie, leaving a 1 to 2 inch boarder around the edges. Fold over or trim any overhanging pieces of bottom crust. Place back in refrigerator.

fishtail pie braid
5. Roll out the remaining dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Using a ruler and pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut dough into long, thin strips.
6. Gather the strips into sets of 5. Pinch tops of each set together.
7. Keeping strips flat, begin a 5-strand, fishtail braid. Fan out all 5 strips. Taking the furthest strip from the right, cross it over the 2 strands closest to it and place it in the centre of the other 4.
8. Next, take the furthest strip from the left and cross it over 2 strands closest to it and place in the new centre.
9. Continue to braid the length of the braid, bringing the outmost strip over and into the centre.
10. Use braid to create a double-boarder around the pie, from the edge of the pan to the lattice centre.

fishtail pie crust
11. You’ll need several braids per ring. Braid ends of braids together or trim and press to seal. Use bit of egg wash to secure in place, if necessary.
12. With any remaining dough, roll out to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick.
13. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a free-form leaves.
14. Use back of a paring knife to score leaf patterns on each leaf.
15. Arrange leaves on top of the pie, or where the braids meet to cover the seams.

fishtail pie leaves
16. Refrigerate pie for 15 to 30 minutes as oven pre-heats.
17. Brush with egg-wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired) and bake according to your recipe or until golden brown.

fishtail pie finish

Looking for more pie-spiration? Check out these 10 Tips from Bakers for Perfect Pastry Art.