The 2-Ingredient Topping That Makes Every Pie Look Amazing

updated Nov 11, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Whether you’re a newbie baker or a seasoned lattice-maker, you probably know that pies are in a league of their own. There are tons of different varieties, but whether your pie is tart or chocolatey, deeply savory or totally sweet, it always has a crust and it always gets a topping.

I recently discovered a seriously stunning, two-ingredient topping that was made specifically for pie, but it shines on almost every kind of baked good imaginable. I learned about it from Kitchn’s Cookbook Club pick for November, Sister Pie. This brilliant baking book is full of lots more than just pie crusts and filling recipes. Even the ingredient section is packed with little nuggets of ingenious baking tips. And that, dear reader, is where I found my new favorite pie topping: sugar-sugar.

Credit: Meghan Splawn
It's sugar, but with sugar in it.

What Is the Heck Is Sugar-Sugar?

A 50/50 mix of demerara sugar and granulated sugar, sugar-sugar is made for sprinkling onto the crusts of double-crust pies before baking. Added after an egg wash, sugar-sugar sticks to the dough, helping with browning and adding a crunchy, caramelized sweetness to the top. It also makes the pie look incredibly beautiful.

How to Use Sugar-Sugar

You can make sugar-sugar in any amount, and even make it ahead of time: It will last basically forever in your pantry. Start by mixing a half cup of each sugar together and you’ll have plenty to last the holiday season — you only need a few teaspoons per pie. But the brilliant part is that it can top many, many kinds of sweets.

You can put sugar-sugar on top of muffins before baking and they will have the most crinkly, crackling, tender-crisp tops ever. Use it for the burnt sugar topping on your crème brûlée (as many pro bakers do) or use it to brûlée your favorite custard pie. You can also roll drop cookies in sugar-sugar before baking. Of course, you can use it on other pies too — not just the double-crust kind. Sprinkle sugar-sugar on your pumpkin or buttermilk pie before baking and it will get a lovely crust that collapses under your fork with each delightful bite.

Come to think of it, a pretty little jar of sugar-sugar might make an excellent gift for the pie baker in your life, alongside a copy of Sister Pie.