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How to Make Pie

Updated October 3, 2019
Pumpkin Pie
Here it is: Your one-stop source for the best techniques and recipes to master the perfect pie. MORE+ LESS-

Pie is life. The rest is just details.

The next time you’re putting a pie in your face, thank the Ancient Egyptians, who started baking earthy, easy-to-store chicken pies to take on long journeys thousands of years ago. Then thank the Ancient Greeks, who developed modern pie pastry dough by adding fat to the crust (genius!). And then thank the Ancient Romans, who continued pie recipe testing and even offered up sweet pies to the gods (they were that good).

Though the recipes have changed a little along the way, pies are still an integral part of food culture in many parts of the world. Here at Pillsbury, they’re as essential as air. From how to prep pie crust to how to bake and store pie, we spill all the beans on what you need to know to make pie a regular part of your life.

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How to Prep Pie Crust

The key to great pie is all in the prep. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of our Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crust!

Step 1: Soften the Crust

Roll out pie crust into pie pan

Let refrigerated crusts stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, or microwave one pouch on DEFROST (30% power) for 10 to 20 seconds before unfolding. Remove frozen crusts from box and let stand at room temperature 60 to 90 minutes before unfolding.

Expert tip: If you thaw a frozen pie crust, don’t refreeze it. Bake the crust, let it cool completely, then tightly wrap and freeze it. Use it later for a filled one-crust baked shell recipe.

Step 2: Choose the Right Pan

Pie dough in a pie pan

Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts are designed for 8-inch or 9-inch pie pans and 10-inch tart pans, but can be cut into other shapes (or doubled for use in our crowd-sized slab pies!).

A few do's and don't's:

  • Don't stretch the crust larger in the pan or it may shrink while baking.
  • For the best baking results, use a glass or dull-metal pie pan. Avoid shiny metal or disposable aluminum pans that reflect heat and prevent crusts from browning. Dark pans may cause crusts to brown too much.
  • Avoid pans with holes in the bottom.

Step 3: Mend the Cracks

Pinch together cracks in pie crust

Wet your fingers with cold water and press edges together. Repairing cracks before baking will reduce the chance of cracks reappearing while baking.

Step 4: Keep the Crust in Place

Press crust up the sides of the pie plate

To keep the crust from pulling away from the pan during baking, ease the dough into the pan without stretching it. Press it quite firmly against the sides and bottom of the pan. If you stretch the dough, it always wants to go back to its original shape, so it “slumps” down the side of the pan. Pressing the crust against the bottom and sides of the pan helps to anchor the crust to the pan.

Expert tip: For extra insurance against the dreaded slump with an unfilled crust, once you’ve pressed the dough into the pan and fluted the edges, pop the pie pan in the freezer for a few minutes to “lock” it in place. Then, just before baking, line the inner edges with a few pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil to prop up the edges while the crust bakes. Bake the crust 10 minutes with foil, then remove foil and bake an additional 2 minutes until golden brown.

Pie dough and aluminum foil in a pie plate

Step 5: Prevent Bubbles in the Crust

Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork

To prevent bubbles in an unfilled crust, generously prick the sides and bottom of the crust with a fork before baking.

How to Make Pie Filling

From savory chicken to creamy chocolate, fluffy eggs to fresh blueberries, there’s no one right way to fill a pie. Pie fillings vary so extensively that we couldn’t possibly show you all of them, so we’re going to show you how to make the classic apple pie filling from our Perfect Apple Pie recipe.

Perfect Apple Pie

What You’ll Need:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (about 6 medium apples)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Step 1: Prep the Apples

Peel 6 medium apples and slice them thinly until you have 6 cups. We often bake with Granny Smith and Gala apples, but use whatever variety of apples you like best!

Peeled, sliced apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and toss with a spoon or spatula to coat thoroughly.

Combine all the filling ingredients.

How to Bake a Pie

Now that you have your crust and filling basics down, it’s time to actually bake this apple pie!

What You’ll Need:

  • 9-inch glass pie plate
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

Heat the oven to 425°F. If you haven’t prepped your pie crust, now’s the time to do so.

Pie dough in a pie plate

Step 2: Fill the Pie

Mix your filling, then spoon into the crust-lined pie plate.

Spoon the pie filling into the crust-lined pie plate.

Step 3: Decorate

Top pie with second pie crust. Wrap the excess top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and press the edges together to seal. Flute the edges, then cut slits in the top to vent (or, make a lattice top!).

Fluted edges on pie dough

Step 4: Bake!

In the center of the oven on the middle rack, bake the pie 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the filling and crust to set.

Expert tip: To keep baked edges from getting too brown, cover the edges with foil after the first 15 minutes of baking or as directed in the recipe. Use a 12-inch square piece of foil; cut out a 7-inch circle from the center, and gently fold the foil “ring” around the crust’s edge. Or, you can just cut 4-inch strips and place them around the outside if you don’t feel like folding. If the whole top is browning too quickly, cover the whole pie with foil while it finishes baking. Be careful—the pie will be hot!

Cover edges of crust with tin foil

Get Recipe: Perfect Apple Pie

How to Store Leftover Pie

A pie’s lifetime is usually short, because it’s pie and it’s delicious. But if you happen to have leftovers anyway, here’s what to do. For creamy, custardy, mousse-filled pies, keep them tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Don’t bother freezing them, because the filling won’t hold up well. For pies with eggs in the filling (like pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc.), keep them tightly covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. These pies will freeze, but the texture of the filling and crust won’t always hold up as well. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil, freeze for up to 2 months and thaw covered in the fridge overnight.

For fruit pies, keep them at room temperature covered with plastic wrap or foil for up to 2 days. After that, put them in the fridge tightly covered and they’ll last another 2 days. Fruit pies also freeze surprisingly well. In the case of our Perfect Apple Pie, you can put it fully baked and cooled in the freezer: Wrap baked and cooled pie tightly in plastic wrap, then place and seal in a 2-gallon freezer-safe storage bag. Freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight; remove from bag and plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until warm.

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