Lattice Variations, Dotted Top, Appliques, and Egg Glazing
You can embellish the detail on a two-crust pie top easily with a few elementary techniques. The ideas shown look spectacular and require minimal effort. The first two trick the eye by looking like a true lattice, but in fact they are not. Another transforms the crust with a delicate pattern of dots punched out of the dough with a wooden pick. The fourth produces a very professional-looking pie, but is actually created with pastry cutouts shaped with a cookie cutter or traced freehand.
Remember that any decorative perforations, whether windows of lattice or lacy dots, eliminate the need for cutting vents. Always use double-crust pastry, and start with the bottom crust filled and trimmed. For a simple glaze that will develop an attractive sheen all over the top crust, brush on a beaten egg white. For more color, use a whole egg or egg yolk mixed with water or cream. The richer the glaze, the browner the crust will be after baking.
Making Easy Lattice
To form a nonwoven lattice, cut plain (or pinked-edge) strips of dough from the pastry for the top crust. Lay half of the strips over the filling, then cross with the remaining strips. Trim them to the edge of bottom crust and brush ends with water. Fold bottom crust over, press slightly to seal, and crimp as desired.
Creating a Cutout Lattice
Roll out the top crust on a floured surface into a circle about 1 inch larger in diameter than the pie plate. Cut out squares with a floured straight-edged or fluted cutter, starting in the center and working out to the edge.
Making a Dotted Top
Set the top crust in place. With a floured toothpick or wooden skewer, punch out the design. Space the holes evenly for maximum effect. If you don’t flour the toothpick, it will create a ragged opening.
Decorating with Appliqués
Cut designs of desired shape from pastry scraps; use cutters or work freehand. Brush the top with water just until moist. Gently set the cutouts on the crust.