This, the final sequence of our pie crust series, addresses adding a top crust. Begin by preparing pastry for a double-crust pie and dividing the dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other.
Roll out the larger portion as directed in previous Back to Basics columns and fit into the pie plate. Trim the dough, leaving a one-half-inch overhang. Roll the smaller portion of dough into a circle about an inch larger in diameter than the inverted pie plate.
Vents need to be cut in this top crust to allow steam to escape during baking, help keep the crusts crisp and keep the upper crust from rising too high over the filling. This may be done using a knife or decorative cutters, with the pastry lying flat after rolling. Another easy method is to lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour and gently fold it into quarters. Then using a sharp knife, cut three or four slits (Step 1) on each of the folded sides.
Leave a One-Inch Overhang
Pour the filling into the bottom crust. Then working quickly, either place the folded dough over one corner of the pie with the point of the wedge in the center and unfold, or lightly roll it around the rolling pin and unroll over the filling (Step 2). Trim, leaving a one-inch overhang.
Tuck the top under the lower crust (Step 4) and press into an upright rim even with the edge of the pie plate. A high ridge 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. Flute the edge as desired and bake the pie as directed in the recipe.
It's important to work quickly once the filling is added so that the pie may be baked before the bottom crust has a chance to get soggy. Other ways to prevent a soggy bottom crust include brushing the bottom crust lightly with egg white, melted butter or a light sprinkling of flour before the filling is added. Having the filling very hot also helps.
\o7 Suggestions for column topics may be sent to Back to Basics, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.