National Pie Day is celebrated annually on January 23rd and was created to simply celebrate pie. It’s the perfect day to bake, celebrate, eat, and enjoy all things pie. Whether you are a fan of cream pies, custard pies, fruit pies or savory pies, here are our top tips for baking the perfect pie today, or any day of the year.
Tips for Baking Cream Pies
A cream pie is filled with a rich filling that is usually made from cream, eggs, flour and sugar. Cream pie is available in many flavors including banana, chocolate, coconut, lemon, lime, peanut butter, and vanilla. Cream pies are light and refreshing and are perfect in warmer weathered months like spring and summer.
When making cream pies, it needs to be firm enough to hold its shape when it's cut and served. If you notice your pie is “weeping,” add cornstarch to your recipe for additional structural support.
Tip: If serving your cream pie with a homemade meringue topping, dip your pie knife into cold water before using so the whipped topping won’t stick to the serving knife.
A custard pie is any type of pie that includes an uncooked custard mixture added to an uncooked or partially cooked pie crust that is then all baked together. Most custard pies include a base of eggs, milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract. Some popular custard pie flavors include apple custard, banana cream, buttermilk, chocolate, coconut custard, key lime, lemon meringue, pumpkin, sweet potato, and vanilla.
When baking custard pies, both the pie crust and the pie filling should be warm rather than chilled before baking. This will help the custard pie filling set and will help the pie crust from getting soggy.
Similar to cheesecake, custard pies can crack when they are over-baked because the edges finish cooking before the center of the pie has set. You can prevent cracks by baking your custard pie at a moderate temperature or you can bake your custard pie in a water bath. This will prevent the outer layer of custard from baking too quickly.
Tip: Since custard pies are made with a base of eggs and milk, always store custard pies in the refrigerator.
Tips for Baking Fruit Pies
Fruit pies contain a sweet fruit filling. Some favorite fruit pie flavors include apple, blackberry, blueberry, bumbleberry, cherry, cranberry, huckleberry, mixed berry, nectarine, peach, raspberry, rhubarb and strawberry.
Pies are one of those foods where less is not more, so when filling your fruit pie, fill it up to the rim of the pie pan and beyond, so the pie filling essentially becomes a towering dome. If the fruit filling is both cold and firm this should be an easy feat. Fruit fillings tend to shrink when they bake, so be generous when filling your pie. However, there is one exception to this rule. If you do not plan on placing a top-crust on your pie, you should only fill your pie pan to the rim. This way, the luscious fruit filling does not run over in the oven. This same rule also applies to custard pies.
Tips for Baking Savory Pies
When most people think of pies, they think of sweet pies, but savory pies can be just as delicious. Some of our favorites are: beef pot pie, chicken pot pie, galettes, ham and cheese pie, potato pie, and quiche.
Similar to sweet dessert pies, savory pies can be made with a single crust or a second top-crust for an added layer of flaky goodness. Although there are a variety of savory pie options that contain protein sources like beef, chicken, pork or turkey, you can also bake up a vegetable pie complete with your favorite garden veggies.
Whether you plan on baking a cream pie, a custard pie, a fruit pie or a savory pie, it's important to bake your pie on the lowest oven rack. This gives the bottom crust the best possible opportunity to bake all the way through and it prevents the pie crust edges from getting too dark in the oven. However, if the pie edges darken before the entire pie is ready to be removed from the oven, simply cover the pie crust edges with foil and continue baking until done.
Pass the Pie Please!
No matter what type of pie you make to celebrate National Pie Day, make sure you give it plenty of time to chill or cool before cutting into slices for serving. We suggest a cooking time of at least 5 hours. Cooling a pie completely will guarantee a firm filling and smooth sides. Trust us, it will be well worth the wait. Happy National Pie Day!
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