It happens all the time, to every dessert eater and baker. You make the perfect pie. Just perfect! And…then you cut it. The first piece is a disaster; it breaks into crumbles before it makes it to the plate and you top it with gallons of whipped cream to hide the mess. Then, to your horror, the rest of the pie just kind of…leaks out into itself in the pie plate. Your guests sit, waiting expectantly…and you just want to go hide in the oven.
Every kind of pie can have its slicing issues. Fruit pies are famous for spilling its contents. The cream pie comes off on your knife in chunks. Meringue pie sticks to the knife.
Here are some tips to help you slice a perfect pie without a red face!
Make sure your pie is completely cool before you cut. This is especially important for fruit pies. I know it’s tempting to dig in while it’s steaming, but for pretty slices you must resist! Cooling a pie lets the center form itself, so it won’t be runny.
If you’re making a fruit pie from scratch, using a frozen Marie Callender’s pie shell, try cooking the fruit a little before adding it to the crust. Cooking the fruit releases some of the water inside it. The less water you add to your pie, the better! The water contributes to a messy pie.
If your fruit doesn’t lend itself to cooking ahead of time (say, blackberries), then be sure to drain them very well and toss them in a tablespoon or two of flour before adding to your crust.
Cream pies, while super delicious (Marie Callender’s Peanut Butter Cream Pie, anyone?) can be messy to cut. The filling gets all over the knife, and the more that it picks up, the less your guests get to eat! Here is a simple solution: have a slightly damp paper towel or dishtowel nearby when slicing. Wipe the knife between each cut. Your slices will be clean and pretty!
Slicing an ice cream pie? Warm your knife under hot tap water before slicing. It’ll glide through easy-peasy.
Cutting through something sticky, like caramel? Grease your knife. You can use PAM spray or a little bit of butter. Re-grease as needed during your slicing.
And what about the ever-fearful “even slicing”? You know, where you cut a slice and you’re a little off-center? So your mother gets a tiny slice and your sister ends up getting something twice the size? Avoid dessert table conflict; cut it evenly every time. All it takes is some simple math calculations. (Kidding, no numbers needed…but it is a bit of geometry.)
The easiest way to cut a pie evenly is to cut the diameter of the pie (all the way across) instead of the radius (center to outer edge). Four long cuts will leave you with eight perfectly sized slices of pie!
That’s it! Just by following a few simple techniques, you can cut through your pies easily, cleanly, and fairly. No more embarrassment over crumbling slices or needing to referee relatives who think they haven’t gotten a big enough slice. You’ll be left with delicious slices of pie, good company, and a smile.
Do you have any tips for slicing pies? What’s your favorite flavor?