After browsing hundreds (fine, thousands) of recipes on Pinterest, you’ve finally settled on the perfect pie to serve at your holiday dinner. Only one thing stands between you and an Ina Garten-level dessert: the actual baking part. Here’s how to make sure your pie turns out right this year.

 

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Help, My Dough Is Sticking to the Counter

Stop everything and pop your dough into the freezer for 30 minutes. The heat from your hands is to blame—it’s melting the butter and turning the dough into a sticky mess as you knead and shape it. While you’re waiting, dust the countertop and rolling pin with flour. When you’re rolling out the dough, pause after every few rolls to dust the counter and pin with more flour and you’ll have a stick-free surface.

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Agh, Now the Dough Is Totally Crumbly

Your dough is too dry. And yep, this can happen even if you’ve followed the recipe to a T. Add a few sprinkles of cold water and then quickly knead the dough with your hands and try again. But be warned: The more you handle the dough, the tougher it will become.

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I Tried the Crimpy Edge Thing and It’s All Uneven

Calm down, Martha Stewart. Not everything has to be perfect all the time. A wobbly edge gives the pie character. But if you must fix the uneven sections, trim away any excess dough and then press it onto thinner areas to bulk them up. If the add-on dough won’t stick, try moistening it with a few drops of water. 

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My Fruit Filling Tastes Like Cough Syrup

Always, always taste your filling before pouring it into the crust. (Otherwise, we’re sorry, lady, but you’re out of luck.) If you taste it in the pot and realize it's way too sweet, carefully pour the fruit mixture into a strainer over the sink. Rinse the fruit with cool water and then pat it dry with paper towels and start over. Add half as much sugar next time (fruit pies rarely need more than a sprinkle anyway).

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The Filling Is Soupy and Spilling Out Everywhere

Grab a piece of tinfoil and place it on the bottom of your oven to contain the mess. A little juice flowing over the latticework makes the pie look homemade, so don’t sweat it too much. (But next time, if it’s looking too runny, add a sprinkle of cornstarch or tapioca flour to the filling before you pour it into the crust.)

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Nooo, Now the Top of the Pie Is Burning

If there are still a few minutes of cooking time left and your pie is getting dangerously dark around the edge, use tinfoil to create a two-inch-tall shield around the perimeter of the pie. If the whole thing is getting too brown, quickly cover it with tinfoil and lower the heat.

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I Can’t Get the First Slice of Pie Out Without Ruining It

You’re this close to pie success…and then you have to serve the dreaded first slice. No prob: Use the easiest trick ever. Just wait until after the pie cools, because attempting to slice a hot pie will ruin your hard work. Cut three slices of pie and then remove the middle slice with a spatula. Congrats: You officially just won at pies. 

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