Pie is, by nature, a homey and comforting food. But being “homespun” does not have to equal homely. How do you keep your pie from looking frumpy? Gussy up the edges. It’s not difficult to learn how to make pie crust edges that look pretty, and the final product is well worth the effort.
Here is a collection of easy methods of creating classic-looking decorative pie crust edges in minutes. The resulting pies will be dessert table centerpieces that look just as wonderful as they taste.
Before you make it pretty, you’re going to have to make a great crust. Craftsy course Perfecting the Pie Crust will demystify the process of working with fat, flour, water and salt to yield a fantastic and delicious pie crust, every time.
Fluted edge via CakeSpy
Fluted crusts are probably the most classic type of pie crust decoration. It might seem difficult, but it’s actually decidedly easy: all you need is your own two hands.
Fluted crust method
Align one hand outside of the crust, and pinch your thumb and forefinger together, as seen in the photo above.
Align the forefinger of your other hand inside of the crust, directly inside of where your two fingers are resting outside of the crust.
Gently use that finger to push the crust into your lightly tented fingers on the exterior. Your forefinger inside of the crust will push the crust outward; your two fingers on the exterior will form a barrier so that the crust doesn’t just spread willy-nilly. It will spread only as far as your two fingers on the exterior, which act as a mini mold for the crust.
- By adjusting how tightly or loosely you hold your two fingers outside of the pie crust, you can adjust the shape of your fluted edge.
- One of the best parts of using your fingers? It guarantees that the size if your fluted indents will remain constant all around the perimeter of the pie crust.
Now that you’ve mastered the basic method, here are some of the different ways you can refine a fluted crust:
Fluted crust variations
Round fluted crust
Apple pie via Craftsy member estherkni2192711
Use your “tented” fingers loosely for this variation with rounded edges. You can even gently soothe any sharp edges on the exterior with a finger to make the fluted edges more round. Continue all around the perimeter of the pie.
Pointed fluted crust
Make a fairly tight “v” shape with your tented fingers on the outside of the crust, and the crust will arrange itself in firm lines. Continue all around the perimeter of the pie.
Rope fluted crust
Rope crust via Craftsy member serialspinner
This method is done in the same way as a rounded fluted crust, but you align your fingers on a diagonal. Although a slight difference, it really lends a different look to a finished pie.
Large-gap fluted crust
Instead of just one finger pressing the crust from the interior side, you could use two or three fingers to form large flutes in your crust. This method can be used with any of the variations above, and in combination of other methods as listed below.
End of summer peach pie via Craftsy instructor Nancie McDermott
You can indent the edges of a crust for a pretty effect. A common tool is the humble fork: you can press the tines all around the edges of the crust for a pretty lined edge, or even align the tines diagonally and press all around in one direction, then all around in the other direction, for a cross-hatched effect.
Leaf edge pie crust via Craftsy member quiltedwings
Lining the edge of a pie with cutouts makes for an absolutely lovely presentation. For a quick and easy stacked crust, use smallish cookie cutters to cut out small shapes from pie crust and form them in a line along the edges of a pie. Using cutouts to form a decorative crust edge is also a fantastic way of denoting the type of pie (mini apples for an apple pie; strawberry-flavored cutouts for a strawberry-rhubarb) or showing some seasonal flair (holly leaves at Christmastime; leaves for fall).
Lattice crust via Craftsy instructor Nancie McDermott
Do you think lattice crust is just for the top of the pie? Think again. A lattice effect is lovely on the edges of a pie, too. There are a few ways of doing this. If you are already working a lattice top on your pie, you can simply make your strips longer and fold them over the pie crust perimeter and then under the edge. The pie above has employed this method, and combined it with indenting the edges with the tines of a fork to make the border extra-special.
Or, if you want to make a lattice-looking edge with an open-faced pie, place approximately 4-inch long strips of pie crust at regular increments along the perimeter of the pie crust, with a little bit hanging inside of the pie shell and a little bit hanging off the exterior edge of the plate. Fold the exposed edges under the outside of the pie crust, and make sure the inner side of the strip is hidden by the pie filling. The resulting pie will have a pretty woven effect.
Rustic edge pie crust via Craftsy member lalilillianna
“Rustic” does not equal “messy”. A free-form pie edge can have a sort of shabby-chic elegance. It has to be done with care, though. The above pie is an excellent example of a well-done rustic edge: by combining a loosely gathered crust with an ornate pie crust topper, the loose edges are charmingly intentional.
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