Weaving in strips of dough to make a fancier pie crust is easy. A regular pie crust, made shiny with brushing on milk and given texture with a sprinkling of sugar, is now boring. You can, with a little effort weave that top crust into a sensation. The scrumptious inside, whether apples, peaches, blueberries or whatever, needs to stand out on the dessert sideboard at your next dinner buffet. In other words, you want to give them a peek into what is underneath, and you want to help them decide its your dessert over that of your sister, or over your aunt’s favorite chocolate pudding.
What will make your pie a dessert to be reckoned with? A woven lattice will do the trick every time. It is easy to do, and will take up only a minute or two of extra time. It needs to be neat though, with each strip even and not haphazardly cut. How do you do this? Even though you are adept at pie crust making, sometimes your crust is too brittle and may not hold up well when being woven into a basket design, it is easier to practice with already purchased crusts. These generally hold together better.
First, to get the width even, cut a template of cardboard or some type of stiff paper one inch in width. Place this on the piecrust that is resting on flat hard surface such as a cutting board, and mark off with a knife one inch strips. Make these by cutting through the dough until you have the whole crust thus measured into strips.
Next, beginning at one edge of the pie, place a shortened strip, maybe an inch from the side, horizontal. Second, starting at the end of the strip, place the second in inch strip over this vertically. Continue on in this fashion, weaving in and out until you have filled the whole top with a lattice. Or another way is to place the first strip across the pie in the middle horizontally and then place a vertical strip vertically. Continue this pattern by lifting the strip already placed to get the regular basket weave, by alternating horizontal with vertical strips.
After you have your lattice, then you can brush each strip with milk to make them glossy and sprinkle with sugar if you desire. This design takes practice and by the second or third practice session it will no longer be necessary to precut the strips, you just cut the strip, place it on the pie without fretting or bothering with precision.
Once this has been accomplished successfully, you may want to use that extra pie dough saved by using a lattice crust top to decorate the pie This would be a neat idea for special occasions. A snowman, a wreath, alphabets, animal shapes, or whatever can be placed on top of the lattice. They can be decorated after the pie has been baked. A braid around the pie might also be an effective decoration. It too can be baked first, then decorated, or painted with cake frosting to resemble a wreath. The only limitation here is the imagination.