Fillings are easy. It’s the crusts that folks struggle with. Either they’re tough or greasy or they’re just plain ugly. Let’s solve that. We’ll show you how to make them cute—with images and a video, and we’ll tell you how to make a good, flaky crust the easy way.
Finally, we’ll tell you how to make that really good white chocolate silk peach pie above.
Plus we’ll give you a deal on what you need.
What You’ll Need
Key #1 to a better pie!
The edges of the crust are vulnerable. They get pounded by heat from above and below. They get crispy—or worse, before the center of the crust is baked: crispy edges and a soggy bottom.
A pie crust shield reflects the heat, keeps the edges from burning, and allows a little extra baking time in the center where it’s needed: no burnt edges, no soggy bottom.
Key #2 to a better pie!
Dark pie pans absorb and distribute the heat. Your bottom crust will be browned and crisp. (These are pretty amazing pans. You can slide your pie out of the pan and onto a plate for cutting and serving.)
More essentials to a better pie!
Pie Crust Mix
Your local baker doesn’t make pie crusts from scratch and neither should you. Chances are, he or she uses a just-add-water pie crust mix. Add the water and beat with the paddle in your mixer for about a minute, just until a dough ball forms. You’ll have perfect crusts every time.
How to Make Your Pie Crust Pretty in 3 Easy Steps
A good crust is not necessarily a pretty crust. Here’s how to make it pretty.
- Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and roll out the dough until it is a little thinner than 1/4 inch thick. You may need to sprinkle a little flour on the rolling pin. (Do yourself a favor and buy two of these shakers. Fill one with flour and the other with powdered sugar. You’ll be amazed how often you use them.)
- Transfer the dough to the pie pan. Trim the edges using a sharp knife or a bench scraper.
- Make the edges pretty. It’s easier to show you than to tell. Once you’ve done it. It’s simple.
You’re done. If you need a pre-baked crust, fill the crust with ceramic pie weights or a pie chain weight and bake. If not, load it with a filling. Sometimes, you’ll need a top crust. Add it, trim it, and flute it in the same way. (Make sure you press the bottom and top dough sheets together with a fork before forming the edge so it doesn’t leak.) Cut vent holes and bake.
You’ve still got to bake your pie.
There are two faults with baked pie crusts: The top edges can burn and the bottom can be soggy or under-baked. You can solve both those problems with equipment.
- Use dark pie pans. Dark pie pans absorb and distribute the heat. Your bottom crust will be browned and crisp without burning the edges.
- Cover the top edge of the pie with a pie shield. That keeps the top edges from burning.
You’re ready to go! Grab some recipes and start making some easy pies. Once you’ve made a couple pies, they’ll be as easy as peanut butter sandwiches—almost. You’ll be the designated pie baker at family reunions, church socials, and with friends. No more expensive trips to the bake shop and a whole world of pies to explore.
White Chocolate French Silk Pie Recipe
We made this pie last summer when peaches were at their best. We’ve also made it with mangoes and strawberries. That makes it a year-around pie. Consider a strawberry white chocolate pie for valentines and in the spring.
A French silk pie is usually made with dark chocolate; this one uses white chocolate. They are usually made with raw eggs. In this recipe, they are cooked.
1 nine-inch deep dish pie shell, baked and cooled
3 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 quarter-ounce packet non-flavored gelatin
1 tablespoons water
10 ounces white chocolate wafers or other quality coating or eating chocolate
1/2 cup butter cut into pieces and softened
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla flavor
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavor
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups fresh peaches peeled and diced
peaches for garnish and topping
- Mix the sugar and gelatin powder together. Add the eggs, sugar mixture, and water to a large sauce pan. Cook the egg and sugar mixture over low to medium low heat while beating constantly with an electric mixer. Continue cooking and beating until the mixture starts to thicken and reaches 165 degrees being careful not to scorch the eggs. Remove from heat.
- Immediately mix the butter into the hot egg mixture with the electric mixer until smooth. As soon as the butter is melted and while the mixture is still hot, add the white chocolate wafers. Continue beating until it is completely mixed together and cooled to room temperature.
- Whip the first measure of whipping cream in your stand-type mixer with the whip attachment until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla flavor. Add the peaches.
- Change from the whip attachment to the paddle attachment. Scrape the white chocolate mixture into the bowl with the whipped cream. Turn the mixer onto the slow speed setting and gently fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Mix for less than a minute, until the white chocolate is mixed into the whipped cream. Scrape the filling into the prepared pie pan. Set aside and let chill.
- When you are about ready to serve, whip the second measure of whipping cream. As the cream is whipping and after the peaks start to form, drizzle in the sugar and add the flavor. Beat until stiff peaks form. Top your pie with peaches and whipped cream.
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and five beautiful granddaughters.