Don’t let your pie start off on the wrong foot—or messy, mangled slice. Extracting a neat first serving is a challenge that has stymied even the best pie-carvers. Here’s a trick to get that first slice as pristine as can be: After making the first two cuts (to form the first slice), make a third cut to form the second slice. This makes it easier to slide out the first piece tidy and intact.
Your freshly baked pie deserves better than to be squished, maimed, or smooshed in transit to a party. But chalk it up to another type of pie to inspire a clever impromptu container—pizza pie. Hit your local pizzeria and request a clean pizza box (a small 10-inch-square one is just the right size) for keeping flat-topped pies, such as pecan and pumpkin, safe. (This tip won’t work with domed pies, like lemon meringue, but this one will.)
You know that feeling of pulling on pants that don’t quite fit? That’s sort of like the embarrassment your pie feels when you roll out a circle of dough, drape it on the pie plate, and realize you’ve fallen short. (Or so we suspect, anyway.) Before you risk a dough-fitting faux pas, try this (ruler-free!) way to measure the dough as you work: Invert the pie plate over the dough and eyeball it—there should be an inch or two of extra dough on all sides of the pie plate.
Why should you have the fun? Give your pie a taste of the oenophilic lifestyle by using an unopened wine bottle as a rolling pin. Believe it or not, it has the right weight and shape for rolling out pie dough. Bonus for white wine lovers: Refrigerate the bottle beforehand—the cold temperature of the bottle will help keep the butter in the dough chilled.
If blind-baking a crust, it behooves you to use something to weigh down the foiled-lined dough so it keeps its shape in the oven. If you don’t have ceramic or metal pie weights on hand (which we prefer), pennies make formidable pie weights in a pinch. Pile them in and make your crust gleam with coppery pride. They conduct heat beautifully, lie flat, and are only a sofa cushion-scouring safari away.