Pie Making Boot Camp {Week #1: Everything You Need to Know About Essential Pie Making Supplies}


Everything you need to know about making a pie, this pie boot camp is a comprehensive look at how easy and doable making homemade pie can be! Today, we are taking a look at the essential pie making equipment (hint: you don’t need as much equipment as you might think!). 

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).


Weeks ago I promised you that I’d be starting a pie making boot camp.

And today’s the day!

Week #1.

Every Friday in October, I’m going to be posting another segment of this pie making bootcamp, and I’m so excited I can barely stand it.

The goal?

To help you feel comfortable and excited about making homemade pie and to help make the process easy and doable!

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes when pulling a picturesque, golden pie from the oven.

I am far from a pie making expert, but I’ve made a lot of pie and pie crusts over the years and have learned a ton along the way.

During the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about everything from why your pie crust shrinks while baking (among other frequently asked troubleshooting questions) to the no-fail pie crust recipe you need in your life (hint: it’s a new one) to equipment basics, plus, I have some killer new pie recipes to share with you.

A quick disclaimer: because we are talking supplies today, there are affiliate links below for the items I’ve purchased from Amazon (nothing here is sponsored); feel free to shop around for the best deal! 

Today, it’s all about essential pie making equipment.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

There are a million different methods and opinions and lifestyle choices when it comes to making pie.

Recognizing and respecting that, over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing what works for me.

I know this may not be the way other people make pie or with the same equipment they use, but over the years, I’ve tried to strike the balance between necessary equipment and technique without getting overly fussy and having to sell a firstborn child to afford the latest pie making tool.

It’s basically a down to earth approach to making pie.

I truly believe anyone can make pie like a completely rock star!

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

Here’s a quick glance at the basic equipment I use to make pie crusts: 

Glass bowl. I use the inexpensive pyrex bowls (for pie and a million other things). The alternate method for mixing pie crust is to use a food processor – I use mine frequently to make pie crust but you absolutely, positively, do NOT need one to make pie crust. Not at all.

Measuring cups and spoons. Brand does not matter here. Just use what you have! (The red measuring cup in the picture is from IKEA and the measuring spoon is from Zeal/Kitchen Innovations).

Pastry blender. I consider this a fairly essential tool for pie making UNLESS you are making an all butter pie crust and grate the butter on the holes of a box grater instead (a visual of this can be found in a video at the bottom of this pie making tutorial).

Even still, I keep a pastry blender in my kitchen drawers, because it is inexpensive and really does come in handy. In a pinch, you can use two butter knives or a couple forks to cut in butter/fat to dry ingredients. (The one I linked to is different than the one pictured since I’ve had mine for about a bazillion years and it isn’t available anymore.)

Liquid measuring cup. Perfect and essential for the liquid you are using in the pie crust (most common: ice water). I’m partial to the easy view liquid measuring cups from Pampered Chef (I have two sets, I love them so much), but this is a similar option.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

I wouldn’t be Mel if I didn’t give a quick nod to my kitchen scale.

If you are using a pie crust recipe with weights given for the dry ingredients, oh gosh, I implore you to please, please use a scale.

Using a kitchen scale changed my life many years ago, and now I don’t think I can live without it.

Recipes (that list weights in the ingredients) turn out a million times better (hello, accuracy) if you have a scale.

And if you notice, over the last couple years, all of my baking recipes include weights because of this.

Is a kitchen scale essential for pie making? No. Even I don’t have weights listed (yet) on my favorite pie crust recipe.

But it can be a HUGE help if the recipe you are using DOES have weight measures (and the new recipe I’ll be sharing next week will have them).

A quick note about rolling pins. 

I have both a French rolling pin and a classic (ahem, old-school) rolling pin.

My kids might as well use the French rolling pin as a baseball bat, because I never use it. Never, ever.

I’m all about the classic rolling pin all the way.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

While the two items I’m about to discuss could definitely fall on the list of optional equipment, I use them every time I make a pie, so they deserve a spot here (but you don’t necessarily need them).

Those purty little kitchen shears you see up there are my go-to for trimming the edges of pie crust.

(The Zyliss ones pictured aren’t available but I also have these Kitchen Aid ones, and they are awesome. One can never have too many pairs of kitchen shears, or so I like to say.)

I keep them under lock and key in the kitchen so they don’t end up being used for gluey, messy craft projects or to dissect small insects outside.

And that canvas covered board you see up there?

It’s my favorite pie making ninja secret. It’s what makes rolling out pie crusts so easy, I want to cry.

This Bethany board found it’s way into my Amazon cart years ago when I was living in Minnesota and everyone and their dog made lefse for Christmas.

It’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent (even if I still haven’t made lefse at home).

Honestly, this thing is a dream and a total lifesaver.

I was worried about cleaning it, but it turns out, it’s as easy as pie (haha, you knew I had to throw that in at least once in this post, right?).

I shake out the cloth like crazy outside, let it hang dry from the moisture of the pie crust, and that’s it.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

A burning question with pie making is which type of pan is the best to use when making pie?

Oh, friend. Do I have opinions about this or what? (If you read here, you should not be surprised – I have opinions about everything.)

There are three basic types of non-disposable pie plates: glass, ceramic and metal.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

Pictured above in the top row are the glass pans I have. A pyrex 9-inch pie plate and a pyrex deep 9.5-inch pie plate.

Both are exceptional, but I highly recommend NOT using one in place of the other. They each have their purpose.

Baking ingredients for a pie in a smaller or larger dish than called for in the recipe can mess up the result.

I only use the 9.5-inch pie plate when a pie recipe calls for it (like this chocolate mousse cheesecake pie recipe).

Glass Pie Plate

Advantages: browns the crust better than any of the other options, in my opinion; inexpensive; widely available; conducts heat really well; just a great all-purpose pie plate – basically, if you only own ONE pie plate, a glass pie pan is the perfect option

Disadvantages: can break or crack if dropped; depending on the brand, doesn’t have as wide a ledge for fluting a decorative crust; not super pretty if that’s your thing (all function here)

Metal Pie Plate

Advantages: also conducts heat well (like the glass pie pan), doesn’t break or crack if dropped (am I the only one who drops everything?)

Disadvantages: many brands (including the one I have and really like, which is the Williams-Sonoma Gold Touch pie plate), scratches fairly easily when the pie is cut and served, not decorative or pretty

Ceramic Pie Plate

Advantages: often prettier and available in lovely designs, sometimes has a wider lip to help with fluting the crust.

Disadvantages: in my experience, ceramic pie plates conduct heat less well than metal or glass leaving pie crust raw on the bottom but overcooked on the top, can break or crack if dropped, sizes vary widely (many brands have poor reviews about a 9-inch plate not really being 9-inches)

I generally use my ceramic pie plates for no-bake pies, pies with graham cracker crusts, etc (like this Magnolia Lemon Pie). And I use metal or glass for traditional pie crust pies.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

Next week we’ll be diving into the ins and outs (with a complete tutorial) on making pie crust. Because of that, let me give a quick shout out to a few other supplies that come in handy.

I usually wrap my pie crusts in plastic wrap, but you can also use a quart-size ziploc bag.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

If blind baking a pie crust (we’ll get into the how-to-do-this in the following weeks!), I always line with aluminum foil (not heavy duty) and use dried beans as my filler.

Once the beans have cooled after baking, I store them in the same gallon-size ziploc bag and reuse them again and again and again.

Everything you need to know to make homemade pie (it's easy and doable!).

While I have several pie shields in my drawers (this blue one and red ones I picked up at Orson Gygi, I believe), they aren’t absolutely necessary, in my opinion.

Especially if you are a beginning pie maker. You can tent the pie with foil or wrap the outer crust gently with foil.

But there’s no denying that a pie shield does make that process a little bit easier.

So there you go!

That’s an in-depth look at almost all the equipment I use to make pies!

I welcome any and all of your comments and questions, so please leave them in the comment thread below!

Next week, we are going down the exciting and fun road (no, seriously, it is!) of making pie crust from scratch!

The tutorial will be in-depth and perfect for beginners and experts alike – I’ll be addressing common pitfalls when making pie crust, and I promise, it’ll make homemade pie crust seem easier than it has ever been before.

I’m excited for the next few weeks of pie making boot camp!

Just in time to knock out some rock star status pies for the holidays.

If you have any question about today’s equipment rundown, leave them below!

Posted on October 6, 2017 by Mel



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