Most times the reason why I make pie is not because I am craving a slice of fruit pie. I don’t make pie because it is a special occasion or holiday. I make pie because I want to build a beautiful lattice pie top; getting a slice of perfect berry pie after the lattice making is just a bonus. Building lattice takes time but is also an extremely therapeutic process. The repetition of braiding, the stamping, the overlapping and weaving is all so comforting to me. The type of pie top I end up with really depends on my mood. My default is usually several braids and some leaf-shaped cut-outs but from time to time, I’ll take some extra time to create rosettes from pie dough or special stamps to make cut-outs that show what ingredients are in the pie.
The traditional lattice is quite simple to achieve — there are many blog posts and youtube videos that can show you which dough strips to overlap and to weave to create the traditional lattice. Today, we are looking at four different ways you can elevate your traditional lattice pie top. All these techniques will require a bit more dough than if you were to make a normal lattice top. I like to create an extra half batch of pie dough (so make 1.5x your favourite pie dough recipe) or even double the recipe to ensure I have enough dough for the decorations. Any unused pie dough can be stored in the freezer for next time. Because you will be working the pie dough with your hands and leaving it out for an extended period of time, I like to pop the finished unbaked pie in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to let the pie dough chill and firm up again before baking.
Four Ways to Elevate a Traditional Pie Lattice:
1. Leaf Cut-Outs
One of my go-to ways to decorate a pie top is to use leaf-shaped stamps to punch out different leaf shapes for the edges of my pie. Williams Sonoma carries the classic set of leaf pie cutters but you will also be able to find it on other online retailers. Leaf cutters are great for all types of pie, especially for fall pies. I like to throw on an extra braid to be part of the lattice to add an additional type of texture to the pie top.
2. Other Types of Cut-Outs
Besides leaves, you can use different types of stamps and cookie cutters to punch out fun shapes for your pie top. I love using my strawberry stamp for strawberry pies in the summer as well as my cherry stamp for tart cherry pies. This is a good way to let people know what fruit they can expect inside the pie. Sometimes I will add other shapes depending on the season/holiday — hearts ate great for Valentine’s Day and snowflakes are very fitting for the winter months.
3. Letters and Sayings
Adding cheeky sayings or song lyrics to lattice pie tops might be my favourite way to decorate a pie. One year, I made 12 different pies topped with Drake lyrics and it is perhaps still one of my most favourite projects. Ever.
Pie roses always impress but they do take some time and practice to make. You want to cut many half-circles and overlap them to create a petal effect. Pie roses are perfect for edges of a pie, especially if the edge of the pie is crimped. Pie roses do retain their shape when baking but of course, the definition of the petals will not be as crisp as the unbaked version.