5 Pie Tips from a Pastry Chef

pie tips
Variety of homemade autumn pies. Apple, pumpkin and pecan. Top down view table scene on a rustic wood background.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

And mostly because of pie.

In my pastry business, pie season is one of my busiest times of year. If you are in need of a couple tips for amazing pies, I’m going to wrap it up in 5 essential pie tips, right here, right now.

  1. Chill your ingredients – I always chill everything, including my tools before I make my pie dough. You want to keep some lovely butter chips in tact in your dough to get that flaky crust.
  2. Break often – Pie dough is temperamental. As you’re rolling it, it heats up those little butter chips and they melt into the dough. You will want to keep those butter chips intact, so stop and chill the dough as you roll, if needed. This would probably be a good time to have a glass of wine. 
  3. Relax – I make my dough and then let it relax for a day in the fridge. The gluten needs to relax after getting all worked up in the mixing process.
  4. Golden topper – There’s a variety of different things you can use to make a nice golden crust. Eggs (egg wash), cream, milk…turbinado or raw sugar on top. Remember, if the crust starts to get too dark before the inside of the pie is done, place some aluminum foil on top to keep the crust from getting burnt.
  5. Freeze – Before I bake my pies, I always put them in the freezer and let the crust completely harden. This helps prevent shrinkage, and allows those beautiful butter chips to be nice and solid as it goes into the oven (ie. gives you a nice flaky crust.)

Good luck with all your pie baking this holiday season! And don’t forget to share your pie tips with us in the comments!

pie tips

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Rachel has lived in Arizona for 13 years, deeply loving all that the desert has to offer. She is originally from Pennsylvania.  She graduated from Penn State with a degree in print and photojournalism, exactly 60 years after her grandmother graduated. Rachel married her husband Scott, an engineer, in 2013, and they welcomde the sassy Dottie Grayce in 2016, on the hottest day of the year. Rachel is a professional chef, food writer and photographer, food stylist, and baby led weaning advocate. After working in many restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and resorts, Rachel decided to launch her own company, Pistol Whipped Pastry, in 2011. Rachel has been a contributor for Arizona Vines & Wines Magazine, Stratejoy.com, Phoenix New Times, and Chow Bella blog. She has written pieces for the Christian Science Monitor, Green Living AZ, Phoenix Magazine, and YourZenMama.com. When not working, Rachel is hanging out with Scott and Dottie, fixing up their new home, traveling all around Arizona, drinking Arizona wine, gardening, and cooking for friends and family. You can also catch up with Rachel on her personal blog, Croissant In The City.


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