Crimping is only one way to dress up the edge of a pie shell. Tiny dough cutouts, secured to the crust with water or an egg wash, are a charming, more elaborate alternative. Standard cookie cutters are too large for this purpose, but hors d’oeuvre or aspic cutters are just the right size. Look for the small cutters, sold in sets, here at Cooking.com. Be sure that they have sharp edges so they will cut the dough cleanly. Match the shape to the occasion or take inspiration from the filling. Try crescent moons and stars for a New Year’s Eve chocolate pie, or create a border of leaves for a harvest pie made with tree fruits such as apples or pears. You can also attach leaves and other shapes that have been made freehand. To have enough dough for these pastry shapes, you will need to prepare the recipe for a double-crust pie.
Dip a small cutter in flour, then press firmly into the extra rolled-out pastry dough. Cut out shapes as close together as possible.
Lightly brush the edge of the pie with water or a beaten egg. Arrange the pastry shapes on the moistened rim, pressing gently to adhere. Overlap them slightly to build up the edge.