10 Tips for Perfect Homemade Pies
There are few greater sweet finales to a meal than a slice of homemade pie. And with a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll be skipping the store-bought pie crust and bypassing the bakery in favor of a DIY pie filled with the season’s freshest berries, tangy lemon meringue, cool chocolate mousse and more.
Ready to tackle a homemade pie from crust to toppings? Preheat your oven, grab your KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 16-Cup Food Processor, and then read on for my top 10 tips for homemade pie perfection.
1. 3-2-1 and You’re Done
DIY pie dough is a breeze when you remember 3-2-1, which is the ratio of flour to fat to liquid for a basic pie dough recipe. When it comes to baking, accuracy is everything, so whenever possible, it’s best to weigh out ingredients. And that leads us to the following 3-2-1 pie dough recipe:
- 15 ounces all-purpose flour
- 10 ounces cold, unsalted butter
- 5 ounces ice water
- Pinch of salt
The above recipe is for a savory pie crust, however you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar for additional sweetness, depending on your pie filling.
To go from raw ingredients to perfect pie dough, look no further than your KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 16-Cup Food Processor. Simply add the flour and a pinch of salt to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse to aerate the ingredients before cubing the cold butter, adding it to the work bowl and then continuing to pulse until pea-sized pieces form.
Once the butter has been incorporated, drizzle in the ice water, 1 ounce at a time, while continuing to pulse the food processor. Stop the food processor and pinch the dough between your fingers. It should easily clump together. If it’s still too dry, add more ice water, 1 ounce at a time, until the dough comes together.
2. Pulse with a Purpose
The “pulse” button on your KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 16-Cup Food Processor is one of the biggest secrets to perfect pie dough. While it may be tempting to have the food processor run non-stop while blending your pie dough, doing so can cause the gluten in the flour to become overworked. The result is a tough, dense pie dough, rather than one that is light, flaky and airy. Pulsing also better mimics how you would cut the butter into the flour with your hands.
3. Take the Time to Chill Out
Once the dough has come together in a ball, flatten it slightly into a disk and wrap it securely in plastic wrap. Next, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to give the butter a chance to re-solidify. Firmer fat means less sticking during the rolling out process, which leads us to…
4. Flour Power
Chilled pie dough plus a lightly floured work surface will give you the best shot at rolling out your dough while avoiding a melted mess. Opt for a cool surface, such as a marble pastry board and sprinkle it lightly with flour. As you roll out the dough, rotate it frequently while adding more flour as needed to ensure it isn’t sticking to the surface.
5. Pie Pan Precision
To gauge how large of a crust you’ll need, invert your KitchenAid® Nonstick 9″ Pie Pan and place it atop the rolled out dough. You should have about two inches of space around the pie pan, which will give you enough dough to run up the sides of the pan, plus a little extra for creating a cleanly crimped edge.
6. Keep Your Crust Crisp
Nothing ruins a warm slice a pie like a soggy crust, and most of the time, fresh berries and fruit are the key culprits in the mess. Avoid a limp crust by adding enough flour or cornstarch to your fruit filling, which will help soak us excess liquid and result in a pie that’s much easier to slice and serve.
7. Create a Custom Crust
Double-crust pies provide the perfect opportunity to add a custom touch to your DIY dessert. Re-roll leftover pie dough then cut out festive shapes or letters for a personalized garnish. You can also up your pie game by rolling, cutting and weaving a lattice crust for your top layer.
8. Crimp Creatively
There’s no need to ditch all that excess dough around the rim of your pie. Instead, crimp it using your thumb and forefingers, or simply use a fork to press the dough firmly into the pie pan to create a finished edge.
9. All that Glitters…
No pie is complete without a touch of added shine. For an extra-glossy appearance, whisk one egg with one tablespoon of water, then brush it on your top crust and around the edges of your pie. A final sprinkle of sanding sugar provides added shimmer and a sweet crunch to every slice.
10. Practice Patience
As tempting as it may be to slice into your pie while it’s still hot out of the oven, it’s important to let it rest for at least 30 minutes in order to given any liquids in the pie a chance to cool and thicken slightly. While you wait, whip up a batch of homemade ice cream with your KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment, then turn your pie into the ultimate dessert à la mode!