1. If you don't have a pie bird, insert tubular macaroni into cuts in the top layer of pastry on fruit pies to prevent the filling from overflowing. This also works for lattice tops.
  2. For topping winter pies, such as apple, try using rum flavour for the whipped cream instead of vanilla extract.
  3. Before freezing fruit for pies, store it in a sealed, airtight plastic bag and place the bag in a pie tin/plate. The fruit will freeze in the shape of the tin/plate so that when you're ready to add it to your pastry case, it will fit perfectly without gaps.
  4. Prevent soggy pastry case when making a custard-style pie by carefully breaking one of the eggs for the pie filling into the unbaked pastry shell, swirling it around so the egg white covers the entire surface and then pouring the egg into the filling mixture. Brush the beaten egg white over the pastry case before baking to yield a beautiful, glossy finish, and help prevent the absorption of liquids from the pie. Or sprinkle the bottom pastry case with a combination of equal parts of sugar and flour before adding the filling. Or spread a layer of finely ground nuts on the bottom.
  5. Baking a pie on a pizza stone absorbs excess moisture and makes the bottom of the pastry case crisper.
  6. For a pie with a pastry top, brush a little water around the edge of the pastry case before placing the top pastry on. This creates a good seal once the two are crimped together.
  7. For a decorative top pie pastry if you don't own a pastry lattice cutter, us a thimble to cut holes, and then replace the cut-outs back in their holes. The holes will get bigger as the pie bakes, making an interesting pattern.
  8. There are two definite ways to keep meringue toppings from shrinking. First, spread on the pie while the filling is hot. Second, make sure the meringue touches the pastry case all around.
  9. Cut out rounds of leftover pie pastry. Turn a muffin pan upside down. Press dough rounds onto bottoms of muffin cups. Bake at 220°C for 7-8 minutes or until lightly brown. Invert pan onto a wire rack. Use tart shells for pudding and other desserts or fill with mornay sauces.
  10. Always chill pastry dough before rolling and cutting, and always chill it again afterwards, before baking, to further relax the gluten.
  11. Before you refrigerate cream, or meringue-topped pies, insert four wooden skewers around the pie's edge; cover with plastic wrap. Skewers stop wrap from spoiling the pie's surface.
  12. Never put hot or even warm filling into a raw pastry case.
  13. Blind bake the shell until lightly browned.
  14. Brush the frozen pies with melted butter before baking. The butter eliminates the dryness that freezing causes.
  15. Use baking paper to measure pie pastry. The standard pie dish is 22 centimetres in diameter so you'll need a 30 centimetres circle of dough. Since baking paper comes in a 30 centimetres width, simply tear off a piece 30 centimetres long, then roll your circle of dough so it touches the centre of all four sides of the square.
  16. Brushing the top of your pastry case with white vinegar a few minutes before it is done baking will give your pastry a nice sheen.
  17. Brush the bottom pastry case with lightly beaten egg white.
  18. When baking fruit pies, put a thin layer of fine biscuit crumbs over the bottom pastry case. This will prevent a soggy pastry case. Try using crumbs from ginger biscuits with making an apple pie.
  19. For a richer pastry, substitute light cream or sour cream for the water called for in the recipe. If juice from your pie runs over onto the oven floor, sprinkle some salt on it, which causes the juice to burn to a crisp so it can be removed. Give your pies a unique look by using pinking shears to cut the dough. Make a pinked lattice pastry case.
  20. For extremely flaky pie pastry, measure the flour and fat into the bowl and chill at least an hour before you begin mixing.
  21. When making cream pies, keep them firm for cutting by mixing in a one-half packets of gelatine.
  22. When working with pastry, spray the counter with non-stick vegetable spray and then flour it. The dough will come right off.
  23. To thicken juices of fresh fruit fillings, use 1 tablespoon of arrowroot for each tablespoon of plain flour the recipe calls for. Juices will be clear, and it adds a great texture to the pie.