If you’re like me, then your eyes grow big at the mere mention of pie. Honestly, it doesn’t matter which kind. As soon as I hear that word, I start salivating at the prospect of having a slice.
Whether it’s apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, pecan pie, lemon meringue, blueberry pie, or any kind of pie at all, I’m all too happy to help polish it off.
Some people find pies a scary venture in the kitchen, opting instead to run by the bakery during the holiday season rather than bake one from scratch. But making pie really is as easy as, well, pie!
Let me enlighten you a bit more on everything you need to know about pie, and you’ll soon be ready to bake up one of my scrumptious pie recipes in your kitchen!
The History of Pie
If you had to guess, where would you say pies came from? Go on, give it a try.
Believe it or not, the first pies came into existence thanks to the Romans, though it’s said they probably learned how to make it from the Greeks.
Back then, the pies were made in reeds that were only used to hold the filling together. They, thankfully, did not eat the reeds.
Word spread about the pies throughout Europe, though, because in the 14th century, it was a popular word according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
The very first pie recipe was a honey pie with rye-crusted goat cheese made by the Romans.
Back then, pies were mostly made with meat. They also spelled them like ‘pyes’ rather than ‘pies. In England, pies had a notable presence as early as the 12th century.
They called the crust a ‘coffyn,’ and there was more of it than the filling.
Mostly, these early European pies were tucked full of poultry, with the legs jutting out over the sides to serve as handles.
It wasn’t until the 1500s that fruit pies started to come to fruition, pardon the pun. And historians say that the first cherry pie that was made can be credited to Queen Elizabeth I.
Pie started coming to the New World along with those first English settlers. They cooked their pies in long and narrow pans but did not eat the crusts, and they only used them for baking.
During the American Revolution, the term ‘coffyn,’ which had evolved to ‘coffin,’ was replaced by the much more appetizing ‘crust.’
Over the years, pies were perfected with flaky, buttery crusts and crusts made of graham crackers or Oreos. The fillings spilled over with fruits, puddings, chocolate, cream, and other heavenly delights.
And yes, while we often hear the saying that something is as American as apple pie, that actually came from England.
Still, apple pie, pecan pie, and all other pies remain an irresistible slice of the dessert landscape in America. And baking them is so much easier than you think!
Pie Baking Tools and Equipment
If you’re just starting out with pies, you will need to get some baking tools and equipment to help you out.
Some new bakers get nervous and buy pre-made pie crusts, and there’s no shame in that. In fact, pre-made crusts can really help you out in a pinch.
But if you want to make the pie completely from scratch, here’s what I suggest.
For Making Pie Dough:
- A food processor or stand mixer
- Stainless steel mixing bowls (get a variety of sizes)
- Silicone spatula
- Pastry blender (this helps you cut butter into the dough)
- Food scale (makes measuring your ingredients precise)
For Shaping And Decorating:
Now, these aren’t essential, but as you get into pie baking, you may find them handy.
- Marble pastry slab or pastry board for rolling out dough.
- Pastry wheel (bonus: you can use it on fresh-made pasta too).
- Pie dish (these come in glass, ceramic, and aluminum).
For Baking Pie:
- Pie weights (for when you need to blind-bake the crust to prevent sogginess).
- Sheet pan (catches any spillover from your pie).
- Pie Shield (to keep edges from getting too brown or burned).
Pie Baking Tips for Beginners
Are you ready to bake your first pie? You’re going to become hooked on pie baking! These tips will help you master the art of baking a pie.
Keep The Ingredients Cold
Cold butter is best for your crust. The same goes for vegetable shortening. You can even keep it in the freezer!
Chill Your Dough
If you tuck your dough in the fridge after you mix it, the flour can absorb all liquid, leaving you with a perfect crust.
Again, after you roll it out and line your pie pan, shove it in the fridge too. This will keep it from shrinking in your oven.
Don’t Over Handle The Dough
If you’ve got cracks in the dough, patch them rather than re-rolling the crust, or you’ll get a tough pastry.
Refrain From Using Too Much Flour When Rolling Out Dough
It’s so tempting to add more flour to the surface when you’re rolling out your dough, but beware! The dough will absorb that flour and become tough. Brush off any loose flour with a pastry brush.
Don’t Forget To Vent Double Crusts
If you’re making a double crust, you must remember to vent the top.
Just cut a few slits on top, and this will let steam escape. You can also do a lattice top which works just as well.
Protect The Crust From Getting Too Dark
You may notice your crust is getting darker than you like while the filling isn’t quite done.
You can loosely cover the edges with aluminum foil or get devoted pie shields to help you protect it.
Allow Time To Cool
Pies must cool to let the filling set. While it’s tempting to slice it up and dig in right away, patience is a virtue with pies, or else you’ll wind up with a runny filling.
It’s easier to slice when you wait too.
Pie Crust Substitution Options
Whether you are accomplished at making pie crusts from scratch but have no time to do it, or you’re a new baker, having some pie crust substitution options under your hat can really help in a pinch.
The easiest one is a store-bought crust.
You can find them for baking up or for no-bake pies, like with graham crackers or Oreos.
You can also grab phyllo dough or puff pastry if you want a flakey crust.
Or crush up the kid’s cookies with some butter to make cookie crumb crusts.
Granola, crackers, or even pretzels would work too. Your food processor will come in handy for those and make it a snap to put together.
Raspberry Jell-O salad is a great dessert made with a pretzel crust.
How to Make a Double-Crust Pie
Making a double pie crust is just as simple as doubling the pie crust recipe.
I have a pie crust recipe that you can use. Simply double it up to make enough to create the double pie crust. I cover all that in my pie crust post.
How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust
To make a lattice pie crust, you’ll make a double pie crust and then slice the second crust into strips.
You’ll want to make about 12 strips, for simplicity’s sake.
Then take six strips and lay them on top of the pie evenly spaced. Longer strips work best in the center of the pie, while the shorter ones are better toward the edge.
Fold over every other strip so that three of them are almost off the pie, then you can begin weaving the other strips in the other direction to create the lattice.
How to Fix a Cracked Pie Crust
If your pie crust cracked during the pre-baking step, you could make a little spackle for it with some flour, melted butter, and sugar.
Using four tablespoons of all-purpose flour, a pinch of sugar, and two tablespoons of melted butter will make almost a putty-like substance.
You can then take a little bit of this pie putty and press it gently into any holes or cracks to seal it shut.
Bake the crust after making these repairs until firm and dry, which should take about five or ten minutes.
How to Fix a Runny Pie Filling
Remember, don’t try slicing a pie fresh out of the oven, or you’ll get a runny filling!
But if you’ve patiently waited and it’s still runny, you can try adding more thickening agents.
Flour, cornstarch, or tapioca will work. You can mix one of those thickening agents with a small amount of the filling, then stir it in with the remaining filling.
Bake the pie for 10 to 15 minutes more, and when it cools, that filling should be the right consistency.
Did you bake the pie long enough? If you took it out too soon, perhaps for worry of a burnt crust, you should put it back in there.
Just cover the edges of the crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil.
You may also have luck with refrigerating your pie for a few hours before you serve it.
This can work on an array of pies and make it just right in time for when guests arrive.
How to Make a Flaky Pie Crust
Using cold ingredients such as butter or shortening will always help you achieve flaky pie crust status.
It’s also important to chill the dough.
Do you want to learn how to make a perfectly flaky pie crust? See my recipe for pie crust, and you’ll have everything you need to learn how!
How to Prevent Pie Crust from Shrinking
Chilling your dough is key to keeping a pie crust from shrinking.
A good rule of thumb is about 30 minutes, as this gives the fat in the dough time to re-solidify. You get a flakier crust this way too.
Additionally, you want to keep from overworking the dough, which contributes to pie crust shrinkage.
I like to poke holes in my dough, which you can see in my post about making pie crust.
Pie weights are another way to stop a pie crust from shrinking, but there’s something else too. The type of pie plate you use can cause shrinkage.
Metal and ceramic are best because glass pie pans are more slippery than these materials, causing the crust to shrink more.
How to Store Leftover Pie
Some pies, like ones with creamy fillings, need to be refrigerated. However, others of them do not require it.
Still, the best way to keep any pie fresh is to store it in your fridge. You will want to wrap it in plastic wrap and then add another layer with foil.
Even better, if you can put it in an airtight container, that’s the best option. Wrap it before you put it in that container, and you will preserve its delicious flavors.
You can also freeze some pies, though this is best with fruit pies. Pies with creamy or custardy fillings do not freeze well.
How to Prevent a Soggy Pie Crust
Blind baking is the simplest and most popular way to keep pie crusts from going soggy.
Blind baking means to bake the pie crust before adding any filling.
Pie weights help keep it from bubbling up and allow it to set and get crisp first.
Another way is to put your pie pan on a baking sheet.
The trick here is to put the baking sheet in the oven during the preheating, then put your pie dish on that hot baking sheet.
This will help get the crust to cook and set properly and avoid a soggy situation.
Pie Decorating Ideas for Beginners
Even if it’s your first pie from scratch, you can decorate it like a pro! You can use cookie cutters to press out shapes of whatever you like.
For a double crust, you could cut out stars, for example, and then lay that double crust on top with the cutouts removed.
Or you could make a variety of cutouts and then use those to cover the pie! With different types of shapes, anything is possible.
No cookie cutters? Then layer on that double crust and use a fork to crimp the edges. It will look fancier. Just don’t forget to vent it on top!
Pie Presentation Ideas For A Dinner Party
For a dinner party, you can elevate your pie presentation by turning a lattice pie into intricate braids.
Simply slice your lattice strips into 12, then slice each of those 12 strips into threes and braid them. Then lattice away!
You can also shape the strips into rosebuds and use them to decorate the top of your pie before baking.
Or, cut the double crust with a leaf-shaped cutter and layer the leaves in a swirl pattern all over the top. This would also look amazing with hearts, stars, and other types of shapes.
Classic American Pie Recipes
Even though apple pie isn’t actually from America, it’s still considered a classic American dessert.
Another classic American pie recipe you’ll love is my Buttermilk Pecan Pie for a truly Southern taste.
Or try Florida’s classic icon with my Easy Authentic Key Lime Pie. It’s the state pie for a reason, and nothing compares!
Looking for a comforting pie that everyone will beg for? Try my Old Fashioned Southern Egg Custard Pie recipe. It’s incredibly easy and ultra rewarding in every bite.
Best Pie Recipes for Thanksgiving
I love the holidays, so I’m all for planning far in advance. That said, you may be wondering what the best pie recipes are for Thanksgiving.
My Homemade Chocolate Cream Pie is the perfect solution for families that need a chocolate dessert on the dessert table.
Of course, there’s my Best Classic Pumpkin Pie, a tradition!
I also have a Pecan Pie without corn syrup. I use maple syrup instead, and the results are still incredibly delicious.
For a true Southern treat, try my Southern Sweet Potato Pie.
This one is a classic, and if you’re somehow sick of serving pumpkin pie, it may be everyone’s new favorite.
Best Dessert Pie Recipes for a Party
Whether it’s the holiday season or you just want a pie for a party, you can’t go wrong with my Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie. Everyone loves this dreamy dessert.
Got some peanut butter fanatics? I have the Best Peanut Butter Pie recipe.
Seriously, every time I make it, it disappears. It was to the point where I never even got a taste until I started making two of them.
My Easy Pecan Pie Cobbler is another fun one that turns pecan pie into a cobbler style, while my Blueberry Pie uses frozen blueberries, so you can make it any time of year.
For the summer, you can’t go wrong with my Lemon Cream Pie. Of course, Lemon Meringue Pie is a classic too.
Mine uses sweetened condensed milk and comes out with those bright lemony flavors everyone loves.
Or give strawberry pie a try from Julia’s Simply Southern on one of those hot days.
Gluten-Free Pie Crust Options
If you are gluten-free or are serving guests that can’t have gluten, you can try swapping your flour for gluten-free flour.
It can be tricky to get a perfect gluten-free crust, even for an experienced baker.
Luckily, there are gluten-free pie crusts out there that you can use.
Bob’s Red Mill makes a pie crust mix that’s gluten-free which may be the easiest way to make it yourself, or you can buy them ready-made from gluten-free brands like Wholly Wholesome.
Vegan Pie Crust Options
To make vegan pie crust yourself, you’ll need to use vegan butter and vegetable shortening. Or you can buy them ready to go.
Simple Truth and Wholly Wholesome are two brands that have 100% vegan pie crust options you can use for any pie.
Mini Pie Recipe Ideas
Any pie can become a mini pie if you use mini pie plates or shells.
I have an Easy Pecan Tart that is perfect for this, but you can try it with my blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, or chocolate pies if you like!
Unique Pie Flavors to Try
Looking for something different to try when baking a pie? Creamy Homemade Butterscotch Pie is one of the most amazing things you’ll ever taste, perfect if you love butterscotch.
I also have a Buttermilk Pie that is light, creamy, and buttery all at once.
And my Eggnog Pie is great for holidays, but it’s a unique one you don’t often see. While you may want to save it for your holiday dessert table, you can make it any time!
Easy No-Bake Pie Recipes
Don’t feel like baking a pie but want to eat one? No problem! My easy no-bake pie recipes have you covered.
Try my No-Bake Chocolate Cream Pie that no chocolate lover can resist.
And if you want something more tropical in flavor that’s perfect for summer gatherings, go with my No-Bake Pineapple Pie!
Pie Flavors for the Holidays
Aside from pumpkin pie, holiday dessert tables can never go wrong with more pie. Here are some of my personal favorite pie recipes for you to try during the holiday season:
- Homemade Chocolate Cream Pie
- Buttermilk Pecan Pie
- Butter Pecan Pie
- Easy Sweetened Condensed Milk Chocolate Pie
- Southern Pecan Pie Cake
- Chocolate Pecan Pie
I even have a Slow Cooker Pecan Pie that is just perfect if you’re a little shy about making your first holiday pie. It’s a no-fail recipe that everyone loves!
Pie and Coffee Pairings
Sometimes pie is best when paired with coffee. I often argue that you can eat it for breakfast that way. That’s surely the case with my Homemade Coconut Cream Pie.
And my Chocolate Chess Pie is definitely amazing, with a rich cup of coffee after dinner.
It’s great for dinner parties, holidays, or any time you need a chocolate dessert that is creamy and gooey inside with a crunchy chocolate exterior.
Handheld pies can come in many different forms, but all taste amazing.
Here are a few of mine that are favorites:
What Is The Number One Pie?
Right now, apple pie reigns supreme in the pie world. It’s fresh for summer, and you can use fall seasonings in the colder months for this favorite pie.
What Do You Call A Pie With No Bottom?
In most cases, you would call a pie with no bottom a flan or a tart.
What Is The Best Pie In America?
According to Yahoo!, the top five pies are blueberry, pecan, apple, pumpkin, and cherry pie.
Pies come in many forms and are perfect for year-round parties and gatherings.
Gatherings of any type are the perfect occasion for making pies!
So, grab your ingredients and pie tools and get started!