12 Simple Tricks for Fancy Pies
‘Tis the season for PIES!
It’s been a bit since I posted a blog – there’s been much more activity over on my Recipes page – but I wanted to post something fun for the holidays, and before some big changes in 2019 (stay tuned for those)!
Whether it’s for entertaining or a hostess gift, a pie is a wonderful thing. A beautiful pie can be almost magic! So I’ve pulled together a roundup of simple ways to elevate decorations for the holidays’ favorite dessert. And if you’re trying to keep things on the lower sugar, nutrient-rich side (WITHOUT sacrificing flavor), check out my newly released Pear Tarte with Maple Almond Filling or Walnut Creme Pumpkin Pie for a delicious way to keep the season healthy – both are dietitian approved for morning-after breakfast consumption!
Here are my top 12 ways to fancy up a pie – each picture is a hyperlink to the source, unless otherwise mentioned in the description.
Cookie cutter cut outs
Grab a cookie cutter and go to town! This looks best over a darkly colored pie so the contrast really pops. Find directions for a strawberry slab pie, rhubarb blackberry sage, or vanilla bourbon cherry pies to make a delicious filling yourself!
You can also use cookie cutters to layer crust onto the tops of pies, with or without a top crust – get creative! The owl pie won runner up for Fanciest Pie at the fancy pie party I hosted last week…people can’t resist a cute animal on a pie!
Powdered sugar dusting
This one could be the easiest of all – just grab a stencil, or make some paper snowflakes and gently shake powdered sugar on top. A few rules: the pie must be chilled (warm pies will melt the sugar on contact) and not too wet on top. It’s best done right before serving to lessen any dissolving!
Sliced fruit rosette
With a mandolin to make slices evenly and quickly, this is a fabulous way to make either a whole pie or individual sized servings with apples or pears. It can be a bit more time consuming than some of the other techniques, but is no more difficult!
A berry collage
My first inspiration for fancy pies this season was Julie Jones’ feed on Instagram. From there, I found Loko Kitchen, and I knew pie decorating was a perfect combo of holiday baking and creative crafting! I made the lemon curd tarte on the left below for my Fancy Pie party, and people were amazed – my secret (no longer) is how very easy it was to do!
Lattice with braids
Lattices may be the first fancy pie decorations, but you can boost them to the next level by simply braiding a few strands. They look particularly nice when mixed with flat ribbons of crust, too!
Impressions with rolling pins (use a doily in a pinch)
These rolling pins started showing up in my feeds just in the past few months…with laser-cut impressions built right into the cylinder, you can create a fancy design with nearly no effort for cookies or crusts. If you don’t want to invest (they run $20-60), try using a knit or paper doily to make impressions on the cheap!
Chocolate pies: curls, meringue, and carving
Toasted meringue & chocolate curls are always a hit, especially on a chocolate pie! And friend at my pie party etched the cute reindeer and added a dusting of Oreo cookie crumbs for a big impact with nothing more than a chopstick. (If your sketching skills aren’t up to par, start with something simpler, like a Christmas tree!) For a pie crust recipe when you don’t need a “true” crust, use Anne’s – we developed this at my house last week, and it’s great raw or works for baked pies! As a bonus, leftovers can get made into energy bites for snacking 🙂
Pie to dye
A pack of food coloring can be your best friend for a big WOW factor – the covered crust at left here was just painted on with a paintbrush after baking, while the daisy chain and leaves were blended into the dough (far right was also at my pie party – love those leafy colors!).
A swizzly drizzle
A quick melt of chocolate of any color or a sauce of powdered sugar + water makes for one of the simplest tricks to fancy up a pie – or cookies! – fast!
Make a statement
Got something clever to say? Grab those letter cookie cutters and pop that message on a pie for a lasting impression!
Fork it up
Ok, if none of the above techniques can work for you, I’m SURE you have a fork and can make some nice impressions, at the very least! Make a faux basket weave on a top crust, or just do the outside edge for a subtle but chic effect.
Are there any I missed? Let me know in the comments below if so!