Once the dough for a one-crust pie has been prepared and shaped, its edge is ready for the finishing touch. Over the years, generations of pie makers have devised decorative patterns for the plain rim of a pie shell. Some of these edges have become traditional favorites and the hallmark of a well-made pie. They’re very impressive, make a superb frame for any filling, and couldn’t be easier to accomplish. With a little practice, you can produce them effortlessly and add them proudly to your pastry skills.
The term for this technique is crimping, as in to put a bend, pinch, or wave in something soft and responsive. But that is only the dictionary definition. In reality, a beautifully scalloped edge or one pinched into pointy rickracks is more than just dough marked with the impression of your fingers or a tool. It is a work of simple beauty.
The more dough you have to work with, the easier it is to create a pattern. When you roll out the crust, be sure that it will extend beyond the sides of the pie pan. Give yourself at least a 1/2-inch margin, or even more. After this extra dough is turned under, pinch it gently to pull it up. Then work around the edge of the pie, developing the pattern as evenly as possible.
Basic Scalloped Edge
Place the tip of your thumb against the inside edge of the pie shell. Press the dough around the thumb from the outside edge with the thumb and index finger of your other hand.
Flower Petal Edge
Make a scalloped edge, with each scallop wide enough to accommodate the tines of a fork. Press down lightly on each outward curve with the fork to create parallel lines.
Set your thumb inside the edge of the shell as for a basic scallop. With your other hand, pinch the outside edge to form a point.
Make the edge as tall and thick as possible. Pinch at an angle with the thumb and bent index finger of one hand; as you pinch, twist forward with the finger and back with the thumb.