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A Clever Crust

Learn how to give your Thanksgiving pies—or any special occasion pies—a festive look. 

by Allison Ehri Kreitler

fromFine Cooking
Issue 95

To give a holiday dessert like the Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Pie a festive look, try decorating the crust with overlapping rounds of extra pie dough. Just follow the recipe, with the modifications below (you’ll need an egg white and about 1 teaspoon demerara or turbinado sugar in addition to the other crust ingredients). You can use this technique with any sturdy pie dough, provided you have enough excess dough for the cutouts.

Shape & blind-bake the dough

After you transfer the dough to the pie plate, trim the overhanging dough flush with the edge of the pie plate. Transfer the dough trimmings to a small tray lined with parchment; cover and refrigerate to use for the cutouts. Chill and then blind-bake the crust as directed. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack.

Decorate the edge

On a lightly floured surface, roll the reserved excess dough a little to flatten and even it out. Cut out about 45 circles 3 cm in diameter. Lightly whisk the egg white in a small bowl. Brush the edge of the blind-baked crust with egg white. Overlap the cutouts around the edge of the piecrust; they should cover the outside edge of the pie plate and hang down into the crust about 1/2 inch. Press gently to adhere and then refrigerate while making the filling. Just before filling the pie, brush the decorated edge with egg white and sprinkle with demerara or turbinado sugar. Fill and bake the pie as directed.

  • Overlapping circles of dough lend a touch of whimsy to a plain pie shell.
  • Coarse sugar adds sparkle.

Photos: Scott Phillips

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