I’m sure you have tips
of your own—share them with
us too and we’ll
all become better pie chefs.
Read the Whole
Remember when you were in school and your
teacher gave the trick quiz with the first
step of “read the entire quiz first.” If
you forgot and started answering the questions,
you were caught when you got to question
10, which said “Don’t answer
any of the questions; just write your name
on the top.”
Pie baking can be like
Read the whole recipe to
make sure that you have the time, the ingredients,
and the enthusiasm for this particular pie.
Does it have to chill for two hours before
serving? If so, maybe that’s not the
one for tonight’s dinner party, when
you’re starting to bake at 5:00. Does
it require four eggs and you’ve only
got three? Make sure you understand what’s
involved before you start.
Organize Your Ingredients
It’s tempting to read the list of ingredients
and just start making the pie. But then you
find yourself with something cooking on the
stove and it’s time to add the egg
yolks—but you haven’t separated
the eggs yet. Or you carefully squeezed
the lemon juice for Lemon
Meringue Pie but only
later remembered that you were supposed to
grate the rind first. Or you have to add
1 tsp of vanilla to the Pecan
Pie but all
your measuring spoons are in the dishwasher.
Or you're missing some essential
Get the picture?
So before you start, get
out all the ingredients and implements you’re
going to need and have them close at hand.
Do any preparation
that’s needed (sifting, grating, squeezing,
separating). Once that’s all organized,
then you’re ready to peel and/or slice
fruit or nuts. Then you can put the whole
I know organizing ingredients
glamorous, and it’s hard to do when
you’re impatient to MAKE THE
like preparing the walls before painting,
it helps assure a successful outcome.
be Afraid to Experiment
Pies are quite forgiving.
If you are making a mixed fruit pie, like
the blueberry cranberry
Unity Pie, feel free to vary the
proportions of fruit. If your taste buds
say you like a pie sweeter than my recipe,
add a bit more sugar. As I developed this
site, I’ve had fun trying things like
adding cut up grapefruit bits to the Grapefruit
Meringue Pie (which I found added a tangy
treat and a surprise for the tastebuds).
It’s hard to mess up with good ingredients,
so play around.
I had a few leftover egg whites
from the Boston
Cream Pie, and I thought
make some meringues. My daughter came up
with the idea of flavoring them with maple
syrup rather than sugar, and thus
were created Marvelous
Fun with Leftover Pie Crust
Sometimes you end up with little bits of
leftover pie crust. You can freeze them for
later, or you can have some fun. I like to
make little mini pies. I have some small
pans left from my daughter’s childhood
baking kit, and they work fine; you can also
buy small tart pans. I’ve made mini
apple pies, mini strawberry
pies, and even
a mini grape pie. Just mix
a small amount of sugar and flour with some
cut up fruit
and bake. Or fill crust with applesauce or
jam. Mini pies are cute and tasty and make
a nice little treat.
If you don’t have
enough leftovers or don’t feel like
rolling crust again, just use your hands
to shape some dough into
a circle with a small lip and fill the center
Wear an Apron!
I am always amazed at people who can cook
without an apron. Particularly with pies,
where you have flour, fruit juices, etc.,
it’s smart to protect your clothes.
Plus it makes you look more professional.
This may seem obvious, but many people don’t
remember to do it. You’re handling
food, and you need your hands to be clean.
If the recipe involves using raw
sure to wash your hands again after handling
Jane's Pie of the Month