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Baking better fruit pies

If summer has you baking pies, here are some ways you can make your pies better than ever.

Fresh baked pie

The fresh, local fruits seem to inspire many of us to bake delicious fruit pies throughout the summer. In fact, the first hint of spring breezes has us clamouring to bake a pie so we can let it cool on the windowsill of the country home we dream of having. Country home or not, pies call for a little finesse to get them just right. Here are some tips to make your pies better than ever.

Keep your oven clean

To help make it a less messy affair, bake your pies on top of a cookie sheet so you don’t have a mess dripping onto the bottom of your oven.

Measure precisely

Baking in general calls for precise measurement, but especially when baking pies. Be meticulous in measuring out your ingredients, or you may end up with less than stellar results. Too much flour can make a pie crust dry and tough, so be sure to sift your flour and level it off in the measuring cup with a knife. If you add too much water, that too will ruin the crust, making it soggy. And if you accidentally use too much shortening, your crust will be crumbly and greasy tasting. Measuring well will give you your best pies.

Make sure all ingredients are cold

You’ll get the best results if all your ingredients are as cold as possible — even dry ingredients, such as flour. Work efficiently so that ingredients don’t warm up as you prepare your pie.

Ensure a golden pie crust

After all the work you put into making your pie crust from scratch, to have it end up looking pale and pasty (even if it tastes delicious) is disappointing, to say the least. The solution is simple: For crust to bake to a gorgeous golden shade, simply brush it with some milk or a lightly beaten egg before popping it into the oven.

Use a glass pie plate

For the best crust results, use a glass pie dish. Glass conducts heat evenly so you’ll get more even baking of the crust. Plus you’ll have the bonus of being able to see the bottom of your crust so you know how how well it’s baked through.

Test if your pie is done

It can be tricky to know when your pie has baked through. To check, insert a knife through the top. If the crust gives with little resistance, the fruit has cooked through. If there’s still resistance but you find the crust is starting to bake too dark, loosely cover the top of the pie with a piece of aluminum foil.

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