Few pies are more enticing than a cherry or raspberry pie with a lattice top where you can spot the brilliant red filling peeking through the grids of the pastry. Although any fruit pie may be topped with a lattice, cherry and berry fillings work best because the smaller size fruit creates a smooth surface, making it easier to lay the strips across.
The bottom crust of a lattice-topped pie is made with the same techniques as the bottom of a double-crust pie.
For the lattice top: roll out the remaining pastry to a circle about 12 inches in diameter. To ensure that the strips will be evenly thick, begin rolling from the center of the pastry and roll to the edge. Lift the rolling pin up as you reach the edges and roll in another direction starting from the center of the circle.
With a sharp knife, cut the dough into strips about ½-inch wide. For straight strips, use a ruler as a guide when cutting.
Place one pastry strip horizontally across the top of the filling. Lay the next strip vertically on top of the first. Continue placing the strips on the filling alternating strips horizontally, then vertically, creating a woven pattern.
After you have placed all the strips on the pie, trim the ends even with edge of the bottom pastry. Press the strip ends into the bottom pastry to seal.
Fold the bottom pastry over the ends of the lattice strips. Crimp the edge as desired. To help the pastry brown, brush the lattice lightly with milk. If you like, sprinkle the pastry strips with sugar. Bake as directed in the recipe.
If you like the look of a lattice top, but want to skip the weaving of the pastry strips, try an easy lattice top. The look is much the same with less effort.
Roll out the top crust and cut into ½-inch strips as you would for a traditional lattice top. Place half of the pastry strips over the filling parallel to each other and 1 inch apart.
Place the remaining pastry strips on the pie perpendicular to the first strips, spacing them 1 inch apart.
Fold the bottom pastry up over the ends of the pastry strips to seal. Crimp the edge as you like. If desired, brush the lattice lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar.