Q. How do I make a lattice pie crust?
A. A lattice crust is certainly one of the prettiest crusts to make and it is not difficult, once you master how to make a good pie crust. Since I know you have done that, here is how you make a lattice crust.
Roll out your chilled second crust into a circle. In the online video, I show that it does not absolutely have to be in a circle, but if it is not, you may have to tug gently at some of the pieces. So to save yourself any concern about breakage, you might want to just go ahead and roll your crust into a circle.
Then take a pastry wheel or a knife and cut the dough into long strips. I typically measure mine out to be about 3/4 -inch wide for a regular pie and smaller for an individual pie, or perhaps a more petite type of berry pie. Then lay the strips out across the pie, using the longest ones in the middle and the shortest ones on the end. For the strips that will go perpendicular, start with a short one. Lay it across the original strips, lifting the dough you first laid down. You are not actually weaving, but lifting the dough that is lying down over the strip, or placing that strip over the dough. Either way, one is going over the other to make it look as if it is woven. Do it with the next largest piece. Keep going. The largest piece will be in the middle of the pie, and then you will taper down to smaller pieces.
Remember: over, under, over, under with the original dough. If things look a bit crowded in spots, you can carefully and gently move the strips a bit to where you want them, if you hurry before they get saturated with the juices of the fruit. Time is of the essence here! Lastly, brush your beautiful work of art with an egg that has been beaten a bit. Not with water or anything, just a whole egg. Brush it and you will have the most glorious color when you take it out of the oven.
Tips: Here are some other pretty things to make your pie the most desirable one on the table. To honor the seasons or an event, you can cut designs out of your crust accordingly. Leaves for the fall all long the outer edge are adorable; stars for the Fourth of July are great; hearts for Valentine's Day — you get it. My mom used to sometimes use her thimble and make polka dots! (Does anyone have thimbles anymore?)
At La Dolce Vita, we cut out a heart as our air hole. To make it cuter, we actually cut it all the way out and then place it back in part way at a slant. We do it with a butterfly too. It is kind of our signature pie look. If you do make leaves, be sure to take your knife and cut the veins into them. It will definitely show up after baking and it will look great.
At Le Cordon Bleu, we also put the ridges on the edges of the leaves, and curl some of them; maybe you'll want to try this. You do not have to invest in little cookie cutters because leaves are easy to do yourself. Just be sure to brush all your handiwork with egg wash. I cannot stress enough how much this finishes everything to perfection. I think this is about all I can say about pie crust except that pie season is coming up! Remember the fundamentals:
*Very cold water
*Unsalted, very good butter
*Refrigerate the pie crust before rolling to let it rest a little
*Brush the top crust with egg wash (the whole egg) for the best look possible
*Use a light touch when rolling, but be firm .... like parenting.
*Unbaked pie crusts freeze well.