Now that summer’s almost here, it’s time to enjoy family picnics and outdoor dining. Pies are the perfect dessert for summer potlucks and barbecues because they hold up in the heat and celebrate the flavors of the season. Here are 7 tips on how to make the best summer pies for all your events.
1. Plan Ahead
Making pie dough takes a bit of time and pies should have ample time to cool before you are serving them. Fruit pies should cool for at least four hours and custard pies should cool for at least 2 before being served or refrigerated. If you’re running short of time, try making a chess pie. They usually only need about 30 minutes to cool before they’re ready to serve.
2. Pre-make your dough or crust
You can pre-make your dough, form it into balls, and seal it in air-tight containers or plastic wrap to freeze for up to 2 months. If you pre-form your crusts in pie tins and then freeze, you can use them directly out of the freezer and they will thaw in the oven.
3. Use Summer Fruits
Let the fruits of summer be the stars of the show. Don’t worry about adding a bunch of spices to your fruit pies in the summer. Their bright flavors are especially appreciated on warm summer days. If your fruit flavors need a bit of pop, add lemon zest to the fruit mixture. If the fruit mixture is too dry, add lemon juice or a bit of apple cider vinegar to the mix.
4. Bake Pies on Baking Sheet
Bake pies on a baking sheet on the lowest oven rack. Placing them on the lowest rack will help ensure the crust cooks evenly. The baking sheet will catch any drips, saving your future self from having to clean up a messy oven.
5. Try Different Styles of Pies
Experiment with a crostata or fruit galette instead. Crostata is the Italian term and galette the French term for a delicious, easy-to-make rustic pie. Rather than crimping the dough in a pan, you crimp the dough around the fruit mixture, leaving an opening in the center to show off the beautiful colors. Though it is so simple, it looks elegant and tastes even better.
6. Take Shortcuts
Don’t be afraid to take shortcuts. Let’s be honest; sometimes we do not have time for a fancy lattice crust. Use a streusel topping instead. No time to make the dough? You can use store-bought. Though it might not be as magical as your grandma made, it is a good alternative in a pinch. Besides, the best pie is one ready to eat, not one we didn’t have time to make.
7. Experiment with Your Favorites.
Millions of recipes exist to help you with the elements of pie making, but recipes are really guidelines, especially when it comes to filling. If you have some particularly sweet strawberries, reduce the sugar. Peaches are gorgeous with the peel on in a rustic galette. Using a tannic fruit such as Aronia berries? Sweeten them to your taste or mix them with other berries and fruits with complementary flavors. Try one of these super Aronia berry recipes that are as healthy as they are delicious.
Baking pies doesn’t have to be difficult. Following these easy tips will help you serve your friends and family a dessert they will all love.