Be a pie dough master! Here’s a helpful video and tutorial for how to braid pie crust.
I shared the July 2018 Baking Challenge recipe this past week: apple hand pies. While we have pie crust on our brains this month, let me teach you a really fun way to decorate your next full-sized pie.
Braiding pie dough is my favorite way to design a pie crust, but I’ll admit that it took some practice to master the craft. Today I’m sharing all my tips and tricks so you can skip my mistakes and begin braiding pie crust like a champion right away. After reading this post and watching my tutorial, I guarantee pretty pies in your future!
If you know how to braid hair, you know how to braid pie crust. I’m using my favorite pie as the model for showing you how to braid pie crust: salted caramel apple pie. The best best best pie!!
How to Braid Pie Crust
- Quality Pie Dough: Start with quality pie dough that’s sturdy, strong, and tastes good! Don’t sabotage your efforts with sub-par dough. I recommend my homemade pie crust. This crust, prepared with a mix of butter and shortening, holds its shape beautifully. Remember to use cold fats. In the summer months, I even suggest beginning with cold flour. Stick the bowl of flour + salt in the freezer for 30 minutes before adding the fats. Read more here. If you’re looking for an all-butter pie dough, here is an all-butter pie crust I love. It yields 3 9-inch pie crusts, so you’ll have plenty of dough to work with!
- Roll it Out: Roll out the pie dough on parchment paper. When rolling out pie dough, go slow. Always start from the center and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. If the edges are cracking, smooth them out with your fingers and hands. (You can watch me roll out pie dough in this video.) I recommend parchment paper because you can easily lift up the parchment, place it on a baking sheet, and stick the rolled out dough in the refrigerator. Warm or room temperature pie dough is impossible to braid. It must be cold.
- Cut into Thin Strips: Use a pizza cutter to cut into thin strips. The thinner the strips, the more likely they are to tear. The thicker the strips, the more messy the braids appear. I suggest no thinner than 1/4 inch and no thicker than 1/2 inch. Somewhere between the two is your sweet spot.
- Braid the Pie Crust: Take 3 strips aside. Pinch/meld the tops together. Begin braiding. (If you don’t know how to braid, watch my video or find a close-up hair braiding video tutorial!)
- Decorate Your Pie: Use the braided strips as decoration for your pie. Watch me make a lattice design in the video below!
Tips for Braiding Success
- Cold Pie Dough: Keep all of the pie dough you aren’t directly working with in the refrigerator. This is why I recommend rolling out the pie dough on parchment paper so you can easily lift up the parchment, place it on a baking sheet, and stick the whole thing in the refrigerator. Warm or room temperature pie dough is impossible to braid. It must be cold. This was worth repeating!
- Have Extra Pie Dough: Braiding uses a lot of pie dough, so for a lattice design like you see in these pictures and video, have a 3rd pie crust handy. I used about 2 and 1/2 crusts. 1 for the bottom and 1 and 1/2 crusts for the top decoration.
- Two Hands: Always pick up the braids with two hands– they’re fragile.
- Extra Flour: Keep flour on hand to lightly dust the work surface and your hands.
- Easily Fix Any Tears: If a strip tears as you’re braiding, just mold it back together with your fingers.
- Make Room: Give yourself lots of room to work.
As I always suggest, finish the unbaked pie with a brush of egg wash and a sprinkle of sparkling sugar for added crunch. Need some pie recipe inspiration?
Some of my Favorite Pies
- Deep Dish Apple Pie
- Homemade Cherry Pie
- Apple Cranberry Pie (includes a braided edge!)
- Best Blueberry Pie
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie (the pie used in today’s post)
- Blueberry Peach Pie
- Caramel Pear Pie
And here’s a post I dedicated to different pie crust designs including step-by-step instructions for creating a lattice pie crust. Now go decorate pie like a pro!
Q: What’s your favorite way to decorate a pie?