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10 Tips for Setting a Natural-Looking Table

10 Tips for Setting a Natural-Looking Table

Chelsea Fuss demonstrates how to create an organic table setting for three friends at a local historic farm and community garden. The goal is to create table settings that are simple, a bit undone, and with a focus on the food and guests.

1. The food is the centerpiece. Don’t overwhelm your guests with tall bouquets of flowers and unnecessary décor. Think about the colors of the food, the scents, and plan around them. Make the food the centerpiece and add everything else around it.

2. Think about your location and time of day and make your table appropriate for the setting and time of day. I like table settings that “grow” from their space. For our dinner in the meadow, we kept things casual and earthy and used pops of white that glow in the evening light. Consider lighting for evening and the style and colors of your surroundings. Don’t try to compete with what’s already there.

3. Think in colors. No need to go drafting up a color scheme, but do think about the ebb and flow of color on your table. For this table I focused on keeping everything natural with a lot of wood and pops of white, soft blue, green, and deep red. The safest bet is to keep the backdrop (your table) fairly neutral and let the food bring the color.

4. Food looks best on white. With a few exceptions, food looks the most appetizing served on a white surface. Think about lining old baskets with white parchment paper to serve crackers, or opt for a collection of simple white dishes so you always have them on hand.

5. Keep the flowers simple.

Dining is all about the senses so I like to include flowers or plants on my tables, but I always keep them simple. Forgo the florist bouquet for a Mason jar stuffed full of buttercups or a simple herb plant wrapped in newspaper. A tip: Cut the flowers low so your guests can see across the table but keep it natural by adding a few sprawling branches or vines poking out. Group mismatched vases or use drinking glasses or jars as vases.

6. Consider mix and match seating. Avoid a wedding look by keeping chairs un-matching. Try benches, camp stools or old painted chairs.

7. Use what you have. Avoid the urge to purchase a whole new cabinet of décor for a dinner party. You’d be surprised by what you have in your cupboard (or fridge), or what the local second hand shop has to offer. The best parties I’ve thrown were on a budget.

8. Place settings don’t need to match. Utensils don’t need to match nor do plates or napkins. As long as you stick to a loose color scheme, the mixing and matching will keep the table interesting. I like to use the same color napkins but all with different patterns; and I also love mixing and matching vintage silverware.

9. Break the rules. Set your table with the glasses and utensils you’ll actually be using. Don’t worry about following a chart if you won’t be serving all the courses those utensils are needed for!

10. Have fun and relax! It’s the company that matters the most.

Styling and concept by Chelsea Fuss.

Chelsea Fuss is a freelance lifestyle blogger, event designer and a commercial floral and prop stylist based out of Portland, Oregon. Lisa is a Portland-based photographer specializing in lifestyle, fashion and on-location shooting. She is widely known for her street-style photography on Urban Weeds.

Kinfolk is guide to small gatherings, a marriage of our appreciation for art and design and our love for spending time with family and friends. Click here to read more of Kinfolk online.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.


10 Tips for Baking Perfect Pies Every Time

Want to nail that flaky golden crust, juicy fruit filling or silky custard center? Here's how to make your pie-in-the-sky ambitions a reality.

Related To:

Photo By: Maren Caruso/Getty

Photo By: Joy Skipper/Getty

Photo By: Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty

Photo By: Ann Cutting/Getty

Bake the Best Pies Ever

Pie baking is a commitment. So there's nothing sadder than when your crust comes out slumpy, soggy or burnt, or when your filling is so runny it looks like a swimming pool. Whether you're making a summer cherry pie or a chocolate extravaganza for the holidays, success is in the details. Follow these tips and never apologize for mediocre pie again.

Butter Must Stay Cold at Every Step

You know those iconic, delicious flaky layers in your pie crust? Cold butter is what makes them happen. But butter is slippery &mdash it wants to melt (and will do so!) at every opportunity. And if it softens before reaching the oven then you'll end up with a tough, misshaped crust.

To ensure this doesn't happen, use ice water and cold butter when making pie dough. Minimize handling the dough and roll it out on a cold surface like a pre-chilled marble stone or a countertop quickly cooled with chill packs. If you're worried your dough is getting too warm, you can always pause and give it a quick cool-down in the fridge or freezer.

To really make butter to behave, you can freeze filled and formed pies for at least 10 minutes before baking. And if your kitchen gets balmy in the summer, you might be better off replacing about two-thirds of the butter in the crust with vegetable shortening, which won&rsquot soften so quickly at room temperature.

Roll Dough So It Won't Stick

A dusting of flour won't always prevent dough from sticking to the counter. The solution? Chill your dough rounds before rolling them between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. You won't have to scrape up stuck scraps, and you'll have an easier time transporting the dough to your pie plate.

Blind Bake the Crust

Some single-crust pies need a little extra prebaked love so they don't get soggy, especially if they're destined to hold a pumpkin or pecan pie. Place the dough in a pie dish, line it with a large piece of foil or parchment and fill with dry beans or raw rice (to stop the dough from puffing up). Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough looks matte instead of wet, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust is just lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let it cool, then fill and bake.

Mix Up Your Apples

We've baked hundreds (maybe thousands!) of apple pies in Food Network Kitchen and we almost always use a combination of apples. Not only does it make for a more balanced flavor, but it also means the filling won't end up too mushy or too crunchy. Our winning formula: three-quarters sweet-tart apples that hold their shape (like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Mutsu) and one-quarter good applesauce-making apples (like McIntosh). This will ensure that your filling is sweet, tart, toothsome and just a tad saucy.

Thicken Fruit Fillings to Stop Sogginess

Juicy summer fruits release water while they cook. To prevent a soggy pie, toss fresh fruit with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch. Or find a recipe that has a partially-cooked fruit filling &mdash this is especially helpful for blueberry pie. You'll end up with picture-perfect slices with just the right amount of juiciness.

Weave the Lattice Off the Pie

If you save the lattice for last, you'll end up fussing with soft, warm strips of dough over messy filling. Work neater by simply drawing a circle the same circumference as the top of your pie on a piece of parchment. Then, using the circle as your guide, weave your lattice directly on the paper. Chill until you're ready to top the pie and then slide the prebuilt lattice directly onto the filling.

Brush Your Pie to Change Its Appearance

What's on your pastry brush's bristles determines whether your pie will have a high-end sheen or rustic look. For a matte finish, brush the unbaked top crust with whole milk or heavy cream. For a glossy look, use beaten whole eggs or just yolks. And if you want your pie to sparkle, coat with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake With a Pizza Stone

Another way to stop a soggy bottom is by preheating your oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone on the bottom rack. Bake the pie directly on this seriously hot surface it will offer the bottom some extra heat and produce a beautifully browned crust that will stand up to your filling. For even more insurance, sprinkle some graham cracker, cookie or bread crumbs on the bottom crust before adding the filling &mdash they'll soak up any excess moisture.

Let Custard Filling Jiggle

Custard pies, especially pumpkin, are notorious for splitting down the center &mdash or overbaking and curdling. To minimize this risk, embrace slight underbaking and remove your pie from the oven once the filling is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. If a split still happens, don't despair &mdash that's what whipped cream is for!

Protect the Edges

Sometimes, the border of the top crust starts to darken before the rest of the pie is finished. You can stop over-browning with a pie shield &mdash a store-bought metal or silicone ring that covers your crust's edg. Or make your own ring out of aluminum foil. For top crusts in danger of burning, cover the entire pie with a large piece of foil.