Pastry 101: How to braid pie dough

Learn this deceptively simple trick for the holidays. Plus, three more pie-decorating styles and our absolute favourite rolling pin.

by 0
Braided pie edge
How to braid pie dough. (Photo, Rob Caruso.)

My mom makes legendary pies. So did my grandmothers. Me? Not so much. I’m okay at it now, but it took a long time and tons of practice—once, I volunteered for a charity bake sale and we made 200 pies in one day (ouch). The only easy part is the eating. In the Chatelaine Kitchen, we have made a lot of pies and have learned a few truths: Food processors make excellent pastry in less than 3 minutes. Always bake pie on a baking sheet to save the oven from spillovers. Everyone’s pie turns out differently (at Chatelaine, I can tell who made a pie by the crimp). And if a pie looks terrible, just cover it with whipped cream. It’ll be delicious.

Glossary: Paté brisée

Also known as short crust, it’s a classic pie pastry. It’s a simple mix of flour, fat (butter, lard or shortening) and water, with optional add-ins of sugar and salt. Get our recipe here.

Braided edge

If you want to dress up this year’s pumpkin pie—or are planning to bake the stunning chocolate-bourbon pecan pie from our October issue, try this deceptively simple way to transform any pie into art:

Step one

Cutting pie pastry into strips
Cut pastry into 12 long, thin strips.

Step two

Braiding pie pastry
Braid strips. You should have four braided pieces.

Step three

Brushing egg wash over pastry edges
Brush rim of crust with beaten egg,

Step four

Braided pie edge
Lay braids on edge, gently joining the pieces together. Brush with beaten egg.

 


Recipe: Chocolate-bourbon pecan pie


Crimping style

Fork crimp pastry edge illustration
Fork crimped edge

 

Novice: Fork crimp
Works best for pumpkin or crumble-topped pies since no top crust is required. Trim overhanging pastry, then press tines of a fork evenly around the edge.

 

 

 

 

Pastry
Pastry cut outs

 

Intermediate: Pastry cut-outs
Ideal for apple pie. Roll out a top crust and use cookie cutters to create steam vents. Cut out more shapes from pastry scraps. Use egg wash to attach shapes evenly around the edge.

 

 

 

 

Lattice
Lattice

 

Advanced: Lattice
Shows off the rich colours of berry, cherry or peach pies. Roll out pastry and cut into strips. Weave into a lattice, then brush with egg wash or cream.

 

 

 

 


Recipe: Traditional pumpkin pie


Best rolling pins

Straight: Our favourite! Long enough for big pizza dough but precise enough for delicate pastry.

Straight rolling pin
Straight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tapered: Great for rolling pastry into circles like pies and galettes.

Tapered rolling pin
Tapered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handles: This classic is a great starter pin because it keeps warm hands away from cold pastry.

Handled rolling pin
Handles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related:
5 ways to stop your pastry from shrinking
How to weave a lattice pie crust
10 (other) things to know about making pie

Update