Give Your Pies a Professional Look with These Easy Decorative Crust Edges
A fancy piecrust edge puts the ideal finishing touch on your flaky pastry desserts. If you don't know how to flute pie crust, start there. Then try these other eye-catching ideas. Soon you'll know how to make decorative piecrusts so every pie you make looks like an expert pastry chef did the work.
A slice of pie with a perfectly flaky and buttery crust with a warm berry filling (and a scoop of ice cream) is by far my favorite way to end a meal. Whether it's served as a sweet dessert or a main dish savory pie, adding a homemade pie to your menu makes everyone at the dinner table feel warm and cozy. To really make an impressive display, a decorative pie crust takes your pie from standard to standout. Use our Test Kitchen's expert tips on how to flute a pie crust and other easy pie crust designs. Bonus: most of them will only require your hands or kitchen tools you probably already have.
Easy Ways to Make Decorative Pie Crust Edges
These pie crust edges will work for recipes calling for a single-crust pastry. If you're making a fancy pie crust such as a braid, circle, or leaf shape, make an extra half batch of pastry dough for the cutouts so you don't run out mid-decorating. For covered pies and lattice piecrusts, you'll use a double-crust recipe. Once you roll out the crust, trim the pastry to ½ inch beyond the edge of the pie plate ($6, Bed Bath & Beyond). After trimming, use your fingers to fold the pastry under so it's even with the edge of the pie plate. From there, proceed to one of the following pie crust edges.
Pies with a generous amount of filling (which is most pies, really) will benefit from the classic fluted pie crust edge. Here's how to flute a pie crust:
- Place an index finger against the inside edge of the pastry.
- Using the thumb and index finger of the other hand, press the pastry from the outside onto your finger.
- Continue around the rest of the pastry's edge.
Pressed flute edge: Follow the above steps for a fluted-edge pastry, but make the flutes a tiny bit larger, then flatten flutes slightly. Press inside flutes with tines of a fork. Try this fancy pie crust look on a berry fruit pie or chocolate pecan pie.
For a decorative pie edge, save the pastry scraps and use them to make cutouts. To make the cutouts:
- Roll out the pastry scraps until the dough is very thin.
- Use a fluted pastry wheel ($7, Crate & Barrel) to cut the pastry into tiny squares. You can also use a mini cookie cutter ($5, Michaels) to cut the pastry into small circles or desired shapes. (Match the season by using maple leaves for fall or star shapes for the Fourth of July!)
- Flatten the edges of the pastry shell slightly and brush them with water.
- Arrange the cutouts on the edge of the pastry shell and press lightly to adhere; continue around the edges of the piecrust.
Test Kitchen Tip: To protect the crust edge from overbrowning, fold a 12-inch square of foil into fourths. Cut 3½ inches off folded corners; unfold to reveal a 7-inch center hole. Loosely mold foil over the pie edge before baking.
The crisscross edge is one of the easiest piecrust edges to make and works well for both single- and double-crust pie recipes. After trimming the pastry to fit the pie plate, follow these steps:
- Flatten the edges slightly.
- Hold a fork at a slight angle to the edge of the pie.
- Lightly press the tines into the pastry.
- Continue around the pie, switching angles with every other pressing.
For a variation on the crisscross edge, hold the fork perpendicular to the edge of the pie instead of at an angle when pressing the tines into the pastry. This simple edge works nicely with nut pies like this pumpkin-pecan pie.
The scallop edge is ideal for old-fashioned, classic double-crust fruit and single-crust custard pies. The scallop edge starts with a fluted edge, but the flutes are rounder, which gives a softer, more casual look to the pie. To make a scallop edge:
- Follow the steps above for a fluted-edge pastry, but make the flutes a bit larger than you would for a simple fluted edge.
- Press the bowl of a spoon lightly into the center of each flute.
Try this pie crust edge with a double-chocolate mascarpone raspberry pie.
Tabbed-Edge or Weave Piecrust
A tabbed edge is an easy way to give a professional-looking finish to pies. Use kitchen shears ($10, Target) to snip ½-inch slits into pastry about a ½-inch apart along the edge. For the weaved edge, press every other tab in the opposite direction.
The rope edge is a variation of the traditional fluted edge and gives a down-home, country-style look to any double-crust fruit pie. To make a rope edge:
- Crimp around edge of pastry by pinching it.
- When pinching, push forward on a slant with a bent finger and pull back with your thumb.
Braided Piecrust Edge
For a polished finish to your pie crust edge, try using the braided technique. If you want to use this method, you'll definitely want to have at least an extra half recipe of pie dough to cover your whole pie.