Types of Pies
Fire up the oven! It's that time of year that we start thinking about baking again. Here's a crash-course in the basic types of pies – and what makes them wonderful.
Learn the differences among all the many delicious types of pies break down to their crusts and fillings.
Come on -- let's BAKE!
Pies can be single-crust or double-crust. A single-crust pie is also known as an open pie as it only has a crust in the pie dish containing the filling, but no crust on top sealing it all in.
A double-crust pie, or a closed pie, has the same bottom crust as an open or single-crust pie and a second crust covering the top. The top crust on a double crust pie is typically cut in a few places to vent air through as the pie cooks.
An alternative to this is to weave strips of pie crust dough into a latticework over the top, creating an attractive sort of checkerboard pattern that leaves plenty of venting room and reveals the mouth-watering colors of the filling contained inside.
A typical pie crust is made from white, all-purpose or pastry flour. But it's also not uncommon to see pies with a whole wheat crust, graham cracker crust or even a cornmeal crust. You can also add dry ingredients such as chopped nuts (like pecans or walnuts) or seeds (like caraway or poppy) and spices (like cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg) to your pie crusts for additional richness in texture and flavor.
To most pie lovers, a pie is defined by its filling. Fruit pies are among the most familiar, with apple pie at the pinnacle, though you'll also find strawberry, rhubarb, cherry, peach and a different berry pie for every variety of berry.
Fruit pies can be made with fresh fruit or with frozen, canned or even glazed fruit. Certain vegetables also lend themselves to delicious sweet pies, perhaps most notably pumpkin pie.
Variations on the basic fruit pie include fruit cream pies, like banana cream pie, and fruit custard pies, like lemon meringue. The meringue in lemon meringue pie is a foamy mixture of sugar, butter and eggs piled over the filling in place of a standard top crust. Key lime pie is similar in design to lemon meringue except, of course, without the meringue. Both lemon and lime pies can also be made as chiffon pies, which has an even lighter, fluffier texture than regular cream pies due to the marshmallow, whipped cream or beaten egg whites in the ingredients.
Other creamy, custardy pies include chocolate cream pie, coconut cream pie, Boston cream pie and Bavarian cream pie. Less commonly, you may also find vanilla cream and butterscotch cream pies. Pies may also have alcohol like rum or bourbon in the ingredients, such as the popular Grasshopper pie, a chocolate mint pie containing crème de menthe served in an Oreo cookie shell.
Certain cultures are known for their trademark pies, such as mince pie (or mincemeat pie), a British Christmas tradition literally containing minced meat mixed with spices, and Whoopie pies, recently named the official dessert of the state of Maine (what? not blueberry pie?) containing a creamy, frosting-type filling wedged between two large cake-like chocolate or pumpkin cookies.
All the pies mentioned so far are sweet pies, or dessert pies, but savory pies are also popular, including pot pies which contain a mixture of meat and vegetables, typically cooked and served in individually sized double crusts. Shepherd's pie is another common savory pie that has no lower crust, only an upper crust made of a mashed potato mixture.
Once prepared, pies can be served frozen (like ice cream pies), refrigerated (like cream and custard pies), or warm (like fruit pies or savory pot pies).
Pies to Die For
Step outside the box and try a type of pie you've never tried before!
Want to browse more pies to try? Check out our collection of Easy Pie Recipes
Mmm, pie. What's your favorite?