The Secret to Perfect Pie
by Kayla Howard
For the longest time, whenever I made pie, I had perfectly random results. I never understood why one day it would be turn out with a thick caramel-ish, luscious sauce, then the next time it be either so runny that it spread all over the plate or totally dry and stiff. Every time I put a pie in the oven, I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
This series of events went on until one day when my friend casually said something about bringing a pie to bubbling so that it thickens. This was a major "duh" moment for me—why had I never put two and two together?
I think a lot of people are more worried about the crust and how it looks, and if it's burning, or if they need to foil it—and end up basing their pie "done-ness" on the crust. But it's really not about the crust at all. It's all about the bubbling.
Think of pie filling like gravy. Because, it actually is a gravy or sauce that is just sweet. Since most people have worked with a sauce or gravy of some kind, you should be able to visualize cooking it on the stove top. We know that it has to come very close or to a boil in order for it to thicken, and turn opaque (if you are using cornstarch).
When your pie reaches the point of bubbling, it is "boiling" and thickening just perfectly.
That said, you can still pull it out too soon. When the bubbles first start, it's just on the outside edges of your pan. I have had more than one pie fall short of perfection because I took it out before the bubbling reached the middle of the pie. Don't do it—just push it a little while longer.
I know that leaving your pie in the this point will bake your crust beyond perfection. To prevent that, I suggest after 30 minutes of baking, you cover your pie with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.
Another important step is to place a cookie sheet or pan under your pie. I can tell you from plenty of personal experience that bubbling pie makes a sticky burning mess on the bottom of your oven…and smoke flavor isn't a great addition to perfect pie.
What are your pie secrets? Share if you they aren't too "secret." 😉