latticed and loony

On my old site, someone once asked me what the trick was to making those lattice-topped pie crusts fusspots like me hold in such high regard. I admitted that many years ago, before the Food Network was the behemoth it is today, the adorable Sarah Moulton once showed her audience a method of criss-crossing those pieces so simple, I haven’t struggled with torn pieces since. Even Alex quickly learned the Moulton Method, and remains unintimidated by pie season, which is great because you know, one of us has to roll out the doughs next week!

People who have been reading this site since ever before the iVillage year might remember my sad-but-true affection for Microsoft Paint when I need to explain something but lack the language, an all-too-common state for me. Well, I’ve done it again, and I’m going to present it without comment except to say that I hope you find this helpful in either pie-making or resting assured, once and for all, that I’ve gone off the deep end.

lattice-topped loon

[Best viewed at full-size.]

But wait! There’s more!

As I am certain that many of you will be preoccupied with Thanksgiving menu-planning this weekend, I’ve rounded up some tried-and-tested dishes from the Smitten Kitchen for your menu consideration.

As always, let me/us know if you try them out. I’d love to hear about your experiences and hope they will be as successful.

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21 comments on latticed and loony

  1. smallstatic

    deb – this site is getting sooooo good. don’t know where you’re planning to take it but i’m very excited to see what happens next! also – just forwarded it to my friend at… a foodie just like yourself! :)

  2. You’re illustration is lovely and informative. If memory serves, you have gotten more sophisticated and confident than before. Keep it up, illustrations rock!

  3. Marisa

    I made the scones you suggested and they turned out well except for one thing; I added a little bit of water (I couldn’t help it! The dough seemed so dry!) and ended up having to cook them for 8 more minutes to “dry out” the insides. Next time I will stick to the recipe EXACTLY, as I should have done in the first place. Thanks Deb!

  4. The need for a diagram like that is the exact reason I’m doing a crumble instead of lattice top this year. I got so frustrated lattice-ing the top last year!

    p.s. Sorry to hear about your arm…I hope you feel better soon!

  5. Erica

    I tried your baked mac & cheese. It was very good. I loved the way it was nice and crispy on the top. The best part about it was it was even better warmed up out of the fridge in the few days after I first baked it. I recommend, for anyone who hasn’t giving it a try, using the cheese Deb suggests. I forget what cheese I used, but it was lower quality & it was too oily (but still very delicious).

    Thank you for all the great recipes & posts.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    Also, I love the photo spread above.

  6. I’d forgotten all about those acorn squash with the chili-lime vinaigrette. Thank you. I was looking for a vegetable that wasn’t drenched in butter and cream (not that I have anything against them, it’s just that they’re already over-represented on my menu) and this is it. Bingo! One decision down. Many yet to go.

  7. kat f.

    i am not sure if you are aware, but tupperware did at one point make a large round plastic ‘cut out’ that you simply placed over the still-on-the-counter rolled-out pie top and pushed down, giving you nice little squares. of course this is cheating but i thought of it when i read this post.

  8. lela

    i’ve made the acorn butternut squash soup, acorn chile-lime vinaigrette and the cauliflower soup. all of them were excellent and my husband enjoyed them as well! the cauliflower is a healthier and just as yummy alternative to potato soup. thanks and keep crankin’ out the goods!

  9. Jezzie

    No vaca but I officially left my job. Without another one. And its all b/c of you and your danged old bravery….changing jobs and getting married! you put me to shame so I had to go fer it :)
    As long as I am admitting things…the chili-lime acorn squash recipe today made me think to confess all.. I made the acorn squash, but I changed it cause 1) am back in school full time and STILL remodeling this bungalow, oh, and at the time I still had the job, and 2) I am always dieting.Sooo…(don’t be ashamed of me) I took the pre-baked squash, sliced it like you did, sprayed it with fat free butter, sprinkled it with *gasp* pre-made guacamole mix that I keep around for baked potato topping, and broiled it in oven. Can I just tell you? It ROCKED!!!! please don’t ban me from this site! I am a cook at heart, but a cook with no time and a big a**.

  10. I love the illustration (It does remind one of the old ones. Do you still have the old paint pictures?), but I’m not sure I understand the reason for topping a pie in this way. Does it make it taste better than a solid topping? I must confess, if it’s not a lemon meringue or dutch apple pie, I’m not terribly too keen on covering pies.

  11. I’ve tried that exact potato and artichoke gratin but had to make some substitutions-unfortunately artichoke season is gone, so I had to use canned artichoke hearts (the real thing would’ve been better) and I substituted fontina cheese for asiago-it was a fantastic recipe and one I’ve logged for future mileage.

  12. Rochelle

    After spening Sunday night at the grocery store thoroughly frustrated because I didn’t want to buy the same ‘ol same ‘ol Thanksgiving standards from past years, I vowed to find something sassy to kick things up a notch. Of course, where better to turn than your site?

    It was kind of you to post some favorite links for easy searching. I also appreciate how you take the time to answer the questions people have and recommend links on books, sales, other blogs, etc. You rock! I have read your sites since the days when you first met Alex. I wish you both and your families a wonderful holiday season!

    Thanks a million for all the niceties you do for your readers!

  13. Agatha

    Its 2 1/2 years since you posted this, and its rhubarb season. Notwithstanding your lovely and much simpler looking rhubarb cobbler (the current post), my cousin just dropped a sack of rhubarb by my parents house along with a recipe for Rhubarb Custard pie. I blithely picked both up thinking “how hard could a little pie be?” And then observed that it requires a lattice crust. I’ve never done a lattice crust. I googled lattice crust and came up with an assortment of videos and what not, but before I spent time viewing and assessing I thought I’d just type “lattice” into your search feature. I did. And I’m feeling much more comfortable now about tomorrow’s pie.

  14. Jill

    Hello, I am a military spouse and we are hosting a “Entertaining” luncheon and wanted to use your how to lattice a pie crust as a handout. I wanted to know if this is okay to do so? Thanks JILL

  15. Abe

    so on my third apple pie ever made in my entire life (popped one in the oven tonight, one last night, and another two nights before), i decided to try making a lattice since the flaky all-butter pie pastry has been working out great as you suggested in pie crust 101. here’s to this latest pie i made being better than the last. cheers and many thanks, and a happy new year to y’all!

  16. Eileen

    thanks so much for this lattice 101 as I have been very perplexed about how to do this without a mess. I noticed your lattice is so thick and has crystals (sugar? other?) thanks!

    1. deb

      Sometimes it looks thicker, sometimes thinner. It’s how you roll it, as well as how much the dough wants to puff that day. I often brush my lids with an egg wash or some milk or cream and sprinkle them with coarse sugar, such as turbinato/sugar in the raw.