Photography: Maya Visnyei
Thanks to these stunning decorating techniques, your holiday pie will absolutely steal the show.
It used to be the case that pie crust was really just there as a buttery, flaky counterpoint to a pie’s delicious filling and humbly looked the part. But the past couple of years (thanks mostly to Instagram and Pinterest) have seen a veritable revolution take place in the world of pie decorating. The standard pie lid has given way to lattices, braids, cut-outs and a whole host of other gorgeous techniques — but we promise, they’re still not too pretty to eat. Here are some of our favourite decorating methods for you to try at your next holiday dinner:
1. Cookie Cut-Outs
Photography: Maya Visnyei | Food styling: Claire Stubbs | Prop styling: Geary House
Cookie cut-outs add decorative flair (and a delectable crunch, to boot) to single-crust pies. Should your pie filling have any cracks, they can be tactfully deployed to cover them up, so your guests will be none the wiser. And as an added bonus, they can be made in advance and stored either in a sealed container at room temperature or in the freezer until you need them.
Photography: Maya Visnyei | Food styling: Claire Stubbs | Prop styling: Catherine Doherty
Braids work beautifully as a top crust and can be made as thin or as thick as you like. They work well on their own or with a braid or two mixed into a standard lattice crust. You can also make a single, long braid and use egg wash to adhere it to the outside edge of a pie dish for an elegant touch.
Get the recipe for Canadian Living's Apple Pie With Cheddar Crust.
3. Galette Folds
Photography: Joe Kim | Recipe & Food Styling: Tanya Eng
A galette (or its Italian cousin, the crostata), is a simple, single-crust pie that's crust has a series of overlapping folds that manage to be rustic and chic at the same time. You can achieve this effect with a pie by making slightly more dough than a standard single crust, and by draping it gently over your pie filling.
Get the recipe for our Maple Butter Tart Pie.
Photography: Jeff Coulson
Lattices are a more traditional way to elevate a pie crust, but the process of weaving the strands together isn’t always easy. Thankfully, there’s a handy step-by-step video to help you through it. More traditional lattice tops involve the strands being cut to the same width and size, but a fun, modern twist is to alternate strands of different widths (from the very wide to the supremely skinny) for some visual variation.
5. Double Crust Cut-Outs
Photography: Jodi Pudge | Food styling: Claire Stubbs | Prop styling: Catherine Doherty
This is a terrific technique for anyone who hates throwing out perfectly good dough scraps. Simply re-roll your excess dough, cut it, and add it to your top crust to gorgeous effect! This works just as well on a savoury pie as it does in a sweet one. In the fall, leaf cut-outs make a great option, but in the winter, snowflakes are extra cute. You can also use cookie cutters in the shapes of the filling to give your guests a hint at what’s inside (e.g. apple cut-outs for an apple pie, or a pig cut-out for a savoury pork tourtière).
Get the recipe for Canadian Living's Réveillon Tourtière.
6. Overlapping Tiles
Photography: Jeff Coulson | Food styling: Noah Witenoff | Prop styling: Sabrina Linn
This is another technique that makes use of cut-out shapes, but really brings the cut-outs the focal point of your design. You can use any shape you want (round, square, geometric, or even more fun cut-outs, such as animals or objects), and repeat the pattern, overlapping your shapes slightly, until the pie filling is completely covered.
Get the recipe for Canadian Living's Ultimate Peach Pie.
7. Mix & Match!
Though any of these decorating techniques are beautiful on their own, they also work exceptionally well when paired together. Canadian blogger Jennifer Emilson, for example, did an amazing job showing how well a lattice and some crust cut-outs can work in harmony to create a stunning, centrepiece-worthy pie!