Cooking Tips: 8 Techniques To Perfect Homemade Pies

Baking is definitely an art; from the correct measurement of ingredients to frosting or decorating techniques, this cooking method demands a lot of patience and practice. The skill of baking really fascinates us. Be it a cheesy pizza or a soft and sweet birthday cake, one needs to carefully follow all the steps to get the perfect result.   

Besides cakes, muffins, pizzas, and meats, pies are another popular baked dish that is loved by all. Prepared with both sweet and savoury fillings, it can be enjoyed at all three meals. There are numerous varieties of pies all over the world, and each of them has its own speciality. However, most of us get intimidated when it comes to baking one at home. We feel it is complicated to manage the time, ingredients, and temperature while making pies at home.  

Are you facing the same problem? Do not worry; here are eight useful techniques to simplify the process of making homemade pies:  

Keep The Ingredients Cold 

This is the key to making perfect pies. Butter should be refrigerated until used. This helps keep the dough cold, resulting in a flaky and tender crust. The water you are using while making the dough needs to be cold as well. You can also use ice cubes instead of refrigerating the water.  

Refrigerate The Dough After Every Step  

Chilling the dough after each step will allow the gluten in it to relax and make the crust more tender and less chewy. Refrigerating the dough immediately after mixing will allow the flour to absorb all the liquid. Chilling it after rolling it out will prevent the dough from shrinking in the oven. So, make sure to chill the dough for about 40–60 minutes in total.  

Do Not Overmix The Pie Crust  

Preparing the perfect crust is the toughest part of making a pie. Overhandling the dough can make the pastry tough instead of flaky and tender. If possible, use a pastry blender to combine butter and flour. Blend till the butter is about pea-sized, then stir in a little water to mix them together. Be careful not to overmix.  

Use Aluminum Foil To Protect The Crust  

Loosely fold at least two-inch-wide strips of silver foil around the edges. This is the secret hack to protect the edges of the crust from becoming too dark while baking. Cutting slits in the top of the crust is also important. This will allow the steam to escape, and the pie fillings with high-moisture content will cook well.  

Keep a Check On The Baking Time  

Each pie has a different baking time. For example, fruit pies need a longer baking time than others in order to thicken properly. On the other hand, custard pies will crack if you over-bake them. So, follow the cooking instructions carefully. Also, bake pies on the lowest rack of the oven to prevent the bottom of the crust from becoming soggy.  

Cool Them Before Serving  

We understand that after putting so much effort into making pies at home, it becomes difficult to resist. But it requires a lot of patience to get the best results. So, after the pie is done, let it cool before serving. The filling of the pies needs time to set, or else it will become runny. Let it sit on the counter for at least half an hour before serving or refrigerating. 

Prepare A Thick Pie Filling: 

If you are making savoury pies with veggies or meat, it is best to cook, season, and cool them well before stuffing them in a pie. Ensure that the runny gravy or excess oils and fats are drained before stuffing the pies. This ensures that the pie will keep its form and cook evenly. 

And if the filling is too runny, you can thicken it with a cornflour solution while cooking. Mix water and cornflour in a ratio of 1:4 and add it to the filling. If you are making fruits or alcohol-soaked dried fruits for a pie filling, as done for mince pies, ensure that the excess juices and liquids are drained before the filling is stuffed into the pie dough. 

Avoid Over-Filling the Pies 

If you are making fruit pies using berries, etc., or plain cheese pies, make sure to add an extra handful of them because, as the fruit inside cooks, it softens and sinks a bit. When you are making meat-based, egg-based, or vegetable-filled pies, ensure that you do not overfill them, as they are cooked before, and use a little space to incorporate steam and remain moist while holding the shape of the pie intact.