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 crust. The key is to trim your dough a little long so you can build up a nice high edge.
Roll out your pie dough and transfer to a metal pie plate. There'll should be quite a bit of overhang along the edges, so the first step is to even it up. You can use a knife or kitchen shears to trim the overhang so it's 3/4 to 1 inch all around the pie—use a ruler to mark and measure it in several spots, and then just connect the marks as you cut. Note that this overhang is a little longer than a lot of recipes will have you cut, but there's a reason. Hold onto the scraps you just trimmed, they may come in handy when you're crimping.
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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 you're ready to crimp the crust. Work with one hand on the inside of the edge, and one hand on the outside, and use the index finger of your inside hand 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. 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, 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 it for at least an hour before baking, which helps the crust keep its shape in the oven.
Videography by Gary Junken and Michael Dobsevage; editing by Gary junken