Crimping the edges of a pie crust makes it look pretty, but there’s another, more functional reason our grandmas did this for all their pies. It also helps to hold up the edge of single crust pies so they don’t slump during baking and can hold lots of delicious fillings.
In this video, you'll learn a simple technique for making a basic fluted pie crust. The key is to trim your dough a little long so you can build up a nice high edge.
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Roll out your pie dough and transfer it into a metal pie plate. There will be quite a bit of overhang along the edges, so the first step is to even it up. Use a knife or kitchen shears to trim the overhang so it’s 1 inch all around the pie. Use a ruler to mark and measure it in several spots, and then connect the marks as you cut. This overhang is a little longer than a lot of recipes will have you cut, and you’ll see why that's important when you build up you edge.
Hold onto those scraps you just trimmed, they may come in handy when you’re crimping. The next step is to take that overhang and roll it under itself, so you have a rolled cylinder that rests on the rim of the pie plate.
By rolling the dough under rather than just folding it once, you create a higher edge, which gives you a little more to work with when you’re crimping. Now we’re ready to crimp the crust: Work with one hand on the inside of the edge, and one hand on the outside, and use your index finger to push the dough between the thumb and index finger of your outside hand to form a U or V shape. Then continue the same motion all around the pie plate, spacing your flutes about an inch apart.
If you notice as you’re going along that you didn’t trim things up quite perfectly and your crust is a little sparse in one spot, don’t worry, it’s easy to fix. Just take a bit of your trimmed scrap, wet it with a drop or two of water, and attach it to the sparse area by pressing it firmly into place, patching it up, and then just keep crimping.
When you've worked your way all around the pie, the last thing to do is prick the crust all over the bottom and sides with a fork, and then chill the crust for at least an hour before baking, which helps it keep its shape in the oven.
Once you’ve mastered this basic method for crimping a pie crust, start experimenting with more decorative edges. Watch another video to learn how to make three different decorative edges for your pie crusts: one that looks like a twisted rope, one with big wide scallops, and one that looks like a shaft of wheat, an especially nice touch for Thanksgiving pies.
Watch the introduction to Abby Johnson Dodges's video series Pie & Tarts. CooksClub members have an all-access pass to every episode of the 10-part series, but we'll make select episodes free for everyone to watch for a limited time. Check the page daily for updates throughout the holiday season.