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BACK TO BASICS / Pie Crust V: Lattices

October 12, 1995|JOAN DRAKE

A lattice top allows the pie filling to peek through and is particularly attractive on cherry or berry pies. To make a plain lattice, place half of the strips over the pie in one direction, then the remaining strips at right angles over them. Variations include twisting the strips or weaving them through each other, or arranging them diagonally, rather than at right angles.

Whichever method you use, you'll need to prepare enough pastry for a double-crust pie. Roll out half the dough and fit it into a pie plate leaving a one-inch overhang.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 10 to 14 (1/2-inch wide) lattice strips.

Add the filling to the pie plate, then place five to seven of the strips, depending on the size of the pie, over the filling and about 3/4-inch apart.

For a woven lattice, lift or fold back alternate strips each time a cross-strip is added.

After trimming, moisten the ends of the lattice strips with water or milk and attach to the edge of the pie, allowing a little leeway for shrinkage.

Fold the overhang either over or under, building up a high edge that rests firmly on the rim of the pie plate. Flute as desired.

To enhance browning, the lattice may be brushed with beaten egg, mixed with water or milk if desired. Another alternative is to sprinkle the lattice with a tablespoon of sugar. Bake the completed pie as directed in the recipe.

PASTRY FOR DOUBLE-CRUST PIE

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt, optional

3/4 cup shortening or 2/3 cup lard

4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Combine flour and salt in medium bowl. Place shortening on top, then using pastry blender, cut shortening into flour until particles are about size of small peas or coarse meal. Use relaxed flick of wrist to keep dough mixture from becoming compact mass. If necessary, run finger across inside arc of pastry blender to release shortening.

Sprinkle cold water, 1 tablespoon at time, over flour-shortening mixture, tossing lightly with fork to distribute liquid evenly. As water is added, flour-shortening mixture will begin to hold together.

Mix only enough so dough sticks together. Overmixing results in tough crust. When too much liquid is added, pastry becomes sticky. Too little liquid and pastry will be crumbly. When correct amount of water has been added, form pastry into ball using hands. Roll out immediately or chill from 30 minutes to 2 days.

Makes pastry for 1 double-crust pie.

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