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8 great pie tips

© James Roper / Bonnier © James Roper / Bonnier

By the Editors of Saveur

1. Avoid soggy bottom crusts by sprinkling about one tablespoon each of flour and sugar over the crust before adding the pie filling. As the filling cooks, this extra layer will protect the pie dough from absorbing too much moisture.

2. Beat the dough with a rolling pin after it rests. This will not only relax the gluten in the dough but also will soften it, making it easier to roll out.

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3. Rest your dough
in order to achieve a tender crust that won't shrink during baking. Roll it out, transfer it to a pie plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This will allow the dough's glutens to relax, and firm up the butter so it will melt slowly in the oven. Add the filling and top crust, crimp the dough edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes more before baking.

4. Use high fat
—at least 83 percent—butter for the richest, flakiest crusts. European brands like Plugrà often fit the bill.

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5. Butter the pan
for a golden bottom crust and to prevent the pie from sticking.

6. Sweat the fruit
for apple, pear, stone fruit, and berry pies (especially strawberries, which tend to hold water) to cook out the moisture, concentrate flavor, and ward against a soggy pie crust. Toss the fruit in lemon juice and a little sugar, then let it sit at least one hour or up to overnight. Afterward, drain off the accumulated juices, then proceed as directed with the fruit. Reserved juices can be boiled down into syrup for soda or drizzled on ice cream or fresh fruit.

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7. Construct apple and pear pies tightly, layering slices close together to avoid air pockets, and mound fruit slightly higher than the edge of the crust. The fruit shrinks as it cooks and releases its juices, so tight, full packing helps ensure a finished pie loaded with fruit.

8. Go for a marbled effect
when cutting butter into flour to form dough. Make sure you can see some butter flecked throughout the mixture before you let it rest. As the dough cooks, the bits of butter will melt, forming air pockets in the crust's structure that create a delicate flakiness.

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