Perfect Pies: Tips for Making Pies from Scratch

Do you make your pies from scratch? Making the crust and figuring out the filling can feel pretty overwhelming if you're not in the habit. Before you give in to holiday pressure and pick up a store-bought crust, take a look at our helpful tips for making pies yourself!

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If the idea of making your own crust fills you to the brim with fear, we wholeheartedly recommend starting with the Vodka Pie Crust from Cook's Illustrated. This crust makes use of the food processor and uses a few tablespoons of vodka to ensure a soft flaky crust, every time. It is nearly impossible to overwork this dough!

The only trick with this crust is that it starts to soften really quickly, sometimes making it difficult to roll out or transfer to the pie pan in one piece. Just be patient and stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes if you notice this happening.

Recipe Review: The Cook's Illustrated Vodka Pie Crust
How to Make a Pie Crust - A step-by-step illustrated guide through the process

When you've mastered that one, take a look at our recipe and instructions for basic traditional pie crust:

Recipe: Basic Pie Crust

You can also branch out with one of these recipes:

Sour Cream Pie Crust
Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Once you have your crust made, there are a few things you can do:

Two Ways to Transfer Pie Dough
How and When to Dock a Pie Crust
How and When to Use Pie Weights
Use a Spill Tray to Catch Drips
Top-Only Pie Crust of Overlapping Shapes

After the crust, making the filling is the easy part! Just in case you need it, here's some inspiration for your holiday pies:

How to Make an Easy Fruit Filling for Pie
The Kitchn's Best Pie Bakeoff - 2008
A Dozen Pies for Pie Day
Six Unconventional Thanksgiving Pies

What other bits of advice or inspiration do you have to share about baking pie from scratch?

Related: Home Cooking: The Family Dessert Buffet

(Images: Faith Durand)

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