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Pie Tips

For light, flaky piecrust, thoroughly chill the butter, shortening and any liquid ingredients before adding them to the recipe

When making pie dough, it's easier to cut butter into flour if the butter is cut into small pieces

Pie dough can be made up to four days ahead and refrigerated. If the edges of pie dough crack when rolled out, the dough could be too cold. Let it set on the counter for a few minutes to warm up

When rolling out pie dough, prevent dough from sticking by flouring both the work surface and the rolling pin

If pie dough falls apart when rolled, add a few sprinkles of water

For even thickness, roll pie dough from the center out toward the edges

Be careful not to overwork the dough or the piecrust will be tough

The lower crust should be placed in the pan so that it covers the surface smoothly. Air pockets will push the crust out of shape while baking

Avoid pulling or stretching pie dough when fitting it into the pan to prevent the shell from shrinking as it bakes

Use kitchen shears to trim away excess pie dough when fitting it into the pan

To quickly prepare graham cracker crumbs for a graham cracker piecrust, place the crackers in a plastic zipper bag and roll them with a rolling pin

Add a few graham crackers to chocolate crumb crusts to prevent them from sticking to the pan

When making custard pie, bake at a high temperature for 10 minutes to prevent a soggy crust. Then finish baking at a low temperature

When making pumpkin, custard or fruit pies, prevent the crust from becoming soggy by brushing the unbaked shell with a beaten egg white before adding the pie filling mixture

Use a generous amount of filling when making fruit pies, as it settles slightly while it cooks

To make great apple pies, be sure to use the right kind of apples. Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Jonathan and Ida Red remain popular with pie makers

Fold the top crust over the bottom crust before crimping to keep juices in the pie

Do not make the edge of piecrust too thin or it will dry out and brown more quickly than the rest of the crust

Decorate the top crust with a festive design. Roll out the dough and use a paring knife, pizza cutter or cookie cutter to cut out creative shapes such as stars, leaves and flowers. Before baking, brush the shapes with a little milk for glaze and sprinkle with sugar for sparkle

For a glossy or glazed appearance, brush the top crust with a beaten egg white before cutting steam vents in the top

For a shiny appearance, brush the top crust with milk before cutting steam vents in the top

Brushing the top with milk will give a shiny appearance

For a sparkling appearance, sprinkle the top crust with granulated sugar before cutting steam vents in the top

To prevent shrinking, do not stretch the dough to fit the pie pan. Roll the dough out at least 1" larger than you need to cover the pie pan

Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape and prevent the sealed edges from bursting apart

Avoid a messy cleanup by placing a cookie sheet underneath the pie to catch any juices that may overflow while it bakes

Prevent piecrust edges from over browning by covering them with strips of aluminum foil after the first 15 minutes of baking

Use egg whites at room temperature for greater volume when making meringue

To prevent meringue from shrinking as it bakes, make sure it touches the edge of the piecrust all the way around

To neatly cut a meringue pie, lightly coat the knife blade with butter or vegetable oil

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