A pecan pie. | Photo by Rachel Marty

4 Pietastic Baking Tips for the Holidays

Four tips to make baking a pie that much easier

Four tips to make baking a pie that much easier

The holidays are ideally a pleasant time spent with family or friends, sharing gifts and eating good food, but the festive days are only as good as the desserts. If you are a baker or simply enjoy the act of baking, here are a couple tips to help you complete your holiday pie with ease and perfection.

1. Make sure your ingredients are fully incorporated. Things like butter or salt are easy to forget about, but they are crucial to the composition of the pie. Cooking is a science, and if you mis-measure or mis-incorporate your ingredients, the whole pie can be ruined.

2. The pie crust is the most delicate and intricate part of the pie. Try making the crust from scratch. Pre-made pie crusts can be good, but homemade is better. As long as you use a good quality butter you are left with a wonderful, flaky and crisp crust. When mixing the butter and flour of the dough, don’t over do it! Pie dough is made flakey by layering the butter and flour on top of each other, but over-mixing the dough can cause too much gluten to form and can make the crust hard. Fun fact, leaving small clumps of unmixed butter in the dough makes it flakier.

3. Cooking your pie can come with some trial and error. Always make sure to have aluminum foil handy because the middle of the pie cooks slower than the rest, in which case the top starts to darken and can become too crisp. Layer a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the pie to avoid the edges from from overcooking. In this situation, you can do what I did and cut a hole smack dab in the middle of the foil. This technique protects the edges of the crust from burning while the middle of the pie cooks.

4. The last tip I have is the most important. Don’t be afraid to use seasonings and spices. For a pecan pie, nutmeg and cinnamon turn out to be great additions. Seasoning can make or break your pie. Even a little pinch of salt can accentuate the flavors in the pie. Of course, don’t over do it. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take any out. Choose the best spices for your pallet and always be cautious of people’s food allergies.

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