Parade of Holiday Pies
Pies are a traditional part of many family gatherings, especially for the holidays. These recipes and tips will help you prepare the perfect pie for your family and friends.
Have you ever wondered what you can do to keep pie crusts from getting soggy? This question can be answered by our Test Kitchen, but you may also find helpful hints from Taste of Home readers below.
There are several tricks you can try to prevent soggy crusts:
- Choose a glass pie plate or metal pie plate with a dull finish. If your pie pan is shiny, you might need to bake the crust a little while longer for more browning.
- For double-crust fruit pies, cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to get out. The escaping moisture will help prevent soggy crusts.
- Bake your pie in the lower third of the oven. This will allow the bottom crust to become crisp while the top shouldn't get overly browned.
- Brush beaten egg white or whole egg onto the sides and bottom of pie shells (for single-crust pies).
- Place the pastry in a pie plate and prick the bottom and sides with a fork to prevent it from bubbling as it bakes. Then line the pie shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil.
- Bake at 450° for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5-6 minutes longer or until dry and crisp. Finally, brush the bottom and sides of the crust with egg, then reheat at 400° for 4 minutes to set the glaze. Add filling.
Reader Pie Tips
- For enhanced flavor in your pie crust, add a bit of sugar and a few drops of vanilla to your basic recipe. If you're making an apple or pumpkin pie, also add cinnamon to the crust. Delicious!
—Bonnie G., Brunswick, Ohio
- My pumpkin pie is often requested for potlucks, so I double the recipe when I make pie for my family. The extra baked pies get wrapped three times in plastic wrap and once in aluminum foil, then frozen. This wrapping makes transporting the frozen pies easy. At the potluck, I unwrap and thaw the pies for a convenient and delicious dessert.
—Elisabeth W., Spencer, Indiana
- I think the crusts of apple and pumpkin pies are even better when I sprinkle nutmeg over the pastry dough.
—Lorrie A., Cardwell, Montana
- When making pumpkin pie, I replace half of the evaporated milk called for in the recipe with commercial eggnog. You'll like the difference.
—Sam G., Fort Collins, Colorado
- To save time and mess, put all your pumpkin pie ingredients into a blender. Blend to combine, pour into a pie shell and bake. Easy!
—Ruth M., Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania
- Whenever I make an apple pie, instead of using all white sugar, I use three parts white to one part brown sugar and add pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon and nutmeg. It's my husband's favorite dessert.
—Lisa F., Colorado Springs, Colorado
- My family doesn't care for pie crust, so I make pie fillings without the crust, which means less fat and fewer calories! For pumpkin pie, I double the filling recipe, pour the mixture into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish and bake at 350° for 50 minutes (or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean). For other pies, I put the pie filling into a pie pan or similar-size dish that's been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
—Barbara T., Beaverton, Oregon
- Instead of using a cup of corn syrup in my pecan pie, as the recipe indicates, I use 1/4 cup corn syrup and 3/4 cup maple syrup. It adds a wonderful maple flavor and doesn't seem so sweet.
—Marsha H., Kitchener, Ontario
- My pecan pie has just the right amount of sweetness. I add three drops or so of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to my pecan pie filling. It's yummy!
—Fern S., Mesa, Arizona
- When making a two-crust pie, I brush a little water around the edge of my bottom crust before putting on the top crust. This creates a good seal once the two are crimped together—I never have any filling bubbling out between the crusts, ruining my pie's appearance.
—Vistola E., West Point, Virginia
- Create a quick frozen dessert using leftover cookies, angel food cake, pound cake or brownies. Crumble them up in a pie pan and spoon vanilla ice cream on top. Spread on a thin layer of strawberry jam and cover that with chocolate and butterscotch ice cream topping. Freeze it until it's time for dessert.
—Karen G., Somerset, Kentucky