Test Kitchen tips: Rolling out pie and cookie dough

Rolling pin.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

To keep the dough even while rolling out your pie crusts and cut cookies, work the rolling pin in the center of the dough and don’t roll all the way to the edges. You’ll have greater control over the thickness of the dough if you keep the pin toward the center of the dough -- the closer you get to the rim, the more likely you are to roll the pin off the edges, flattening them and making the dough uneven. Rotate the dough a quarter-turn each time you roll to make sure the thickness remains even.

As you can see in the photo, I usually roll over a large piece of parchment or waxed paper to make it easier to rotate the dough. It also helps to contain most of the flour for easier clean-up afterward.


If you have any kitchen tips or questions you’d like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at



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Apple pie

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes plus chilling time

Servings: 8 to 10

Prepared pie crust

3 to 4 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and sliced into large chunks, eighths or tenths.

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten (to use as an egg wash)

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Starting around the outside edge, line the pie crust with apple chunks. Move in concentric circles inward. When you’ve got the bottom layer covered, mound the rest on top. Go for density without overcrowding.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and lemon zest. Sprinkle the sugar/spice mixture evenly over the top of the apples, then sprinkle over the brown sugar. (Don’t worry, it’ll all migrate downward.) Cut the butter into tiny chunks and scatter it around, randomly but evenly over the top of the sugar.

4. Put the top crust on, crimp, then cut steam holes and glaze with an egg wash. Chill the pie for 20 minutes or so before baking.

5. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 and bake until the juices are bubbling but the fruit still feels firm (use a toothpick or the tip of a paring knife to reach through a venthole to pierce a piece of apple), another 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pie to a cooling rack.

6. Cool the pie to room temperature before serving. A few hours is fine, even overnight is good. The flavors will blend and mellow, and the juices will have time to solidify.

Each of 10 servings: 364 calories; 4 grams protein; 54 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 61 mg cholesterol; 31 grams sugar; 187 mg sodium.