Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lattice Top (and other Ways to Make a Funky Pie)

Last pie post (for now!).  I had a great deal of fun exploring the world of pastry, and I mean to do it again when the crisp autumn weather demands that I bake something savoury in a crust.  As I mentioned in my last post, fruit pies follow a pretty standard formula.  And, once you have your crust down, you are off to the races.  With the basics perfected you can work on making your pies as pretty as possible.  That's what this post is all about.

A lattice top is a great idea for juicy pies like peach and cherry, and it will impress all your friends.
1. Roll out the dough for the top crust into a square, large enough to cut into at least 16 strips of about 1/2" width (for a 9" pie).  Cut into strips with a knife or a pastry cutter.
2. Lay 8 strips across the pie, leaving some space in between.  Fold back every other strip halfway (i.e. strips 2,4,6,8).  Lay one of your remaining eight strips across the middle of the pie, perpendicular to the first eight strips.  Return the folded back strip to their original position.
3. Now, fold back the strips you didn't fold back the first time (i.e. strips 1,3,5,7) back and lay a new strip down to the right of the one you laid in step 2.  Fold back the strips.
4. Repeat, laying strips all the way to the right, and then to the left of the strip in step 2 until the pie is covered.
5.  Trim the strips with some overhang and fold under the bottom crust as per usual, or trim flush and press into the bottom crust to seal.

Alternately, cut circles of dough and make them into a top crust, brushing a little water on the bottoms of any pieces that overlap so that they seal with the dough beneath them.

Dough scraps can easily be rolled into leaves (brush bottoms with water to seal). A brushing of soy milk and some coarse sugar make a nice topping for a cherry pie.