Once again we return this week to making pie crust. In previous Back to Basics columns we’ve covered mixing, rolling out and fitting the pastry into a pie plate. Today we address a few of the numerous ways to flute the edges.
The inch of pastry which was left hanging over the edge of the pie plate should be folded under and pressed into an upright rim even with the edge of the pie plate (Photo 1). A high rim that rests firmly on the rim avoids the edge falling into the pie during baking and acts as a dam, holding the filling in the pie.
Probably the easiest decorative edge is to simply flatten the pastry on the rim of the pie plate with a fork (Photo 2). To prevent sticking, occasionally dip the tines of the fork into flour. Of course this method defeats the purpose of the edge acting as a dam for the filling.
Another type of flattened edge is made by pressing the rim down and cutting it into a scalloped pattern with the tip of an inverted teaspoon. You may also cut out tiny pastry circles with a thimble and place them, overlapping, on the flattened rim that has been dampened with water.
A rope edge is achieved by placing your thumb on the pastry rim at an angle, then pressing the dough between it and the upper knuckle of the index finger (Photo 3).
For a V-shaped edge, place the handle of a spoon against the inside of the pastry rim and push it outward between the thumb and index finger of the other hand (Photo 4). A similar version may be made by using an index finger in place of the fork.
Create a more subtle ruffled edge by placing the thumb and index finger of one hand about an inch apart on the pastry rim and pulling the pastry outward with the index finger of the other hand. A measuring tablespoon on the inside edge pressed against the thumb and index finger on the outside creates a similar pattern.
Once the edges are fluted, the piecrust is ready to be baked blind or filled before baking. Future Back to Basics columns will cover these techniques as well as making double crust and lattice topped pies.
Requests for explanations of cooking techniques may be sent to Back to Basics, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.