Getting ready to bake a ton of pies for Thanksgiving? Tired of burnt edges to your pie crusts, but don’t want to spend major $$ to buy commercial pie crust shields? Frustrated with trying to arrange foil strips and then nursing burnt fingers when the strips fall off in the oven?
Making your own pie crust shield is super easy, cheap, and will keep your fingers blister-free. And you won’t be tempted to curse in frustration at foil strips that just don’t stay put. Oh- and you will end up with perfectly browned pie crusts.
To make you own pie crust shield you need the following: aluminum foil, scissors, pencil and the pie plate you will be baking in.
Set your pie plate, right side up, on a square of foil that is 2-3” larger than your pie plate.
Trace the bottom of your pie plate (the smaller side).
Set pie plate aside and cut out the inner circle.
You can trim the corners on the outside edge, but I usually just leave them. Fill your pie crust, then set foil ring over the edge of the unbaked pie. Gently fold down outer edges, being careful not to squish all of that edge-crimping you worked so hard on!
Bake pie, or quiche, with the pie shield on. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, carefully remove shield. If the edges are not brown enough, leave shield off and bake until edges are golden brown. If the edges are browned, replace shield and continue cooking until quiche/pie is cooked through.
Uses for Pie Crust Shield:
All the goodness of a lemon meringue pie in a hand-held bite-sized dessert.
These bite-sized pies use packaged pre-baked fillo (phyllo) dough shells as a crust. For a gluten-free dessert, skip the crust all together, and bake pies in small ramekins.
Lemon pie filling is a pudding made with egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest. It is thickened by the eggs and cornstarch. Meringue is made from the remaining egg whites, stabilized with sugar and cream of tartar.
For the mini-pies, I piped the meringue using a large star pastry tip. Because of their small size, it is not as important to seal the meringue completely to the sides of the crust.
The pies are baked just long enough to cook and brown the meringue.
You can, of course, make a regular lemon meringue pie by pouring the hot filling into a regular baked pie crust and spreading the meringue over the hot filling. Bake until meringue is golden brown.
Tips for keeping meringue from shrinking and weeping: Start with room-temperature egg whites for best results. Be sure to seal the meringue to the edge of the piecrust. It should touch everywhere along the edge of the crust. Also be sure that the lemon filling is hot when you spread the meringue over the filling. The hot filling will help cook the bottom of the meringue and keep it from weeping as it cools. The pie should also be completely cool before cutting.
Lemon Meringue Pie Bites (or Regular Pie)
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups cold water
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
5 eggs, separated (at room temperature)
2-3 tsp grated lemon zest (from one lemon)
2 Tbs butter
3 packages Mini Fillo Shells or 1 Baked Pie Crust
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup + 2 Tbs sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine 1 ¼ cups sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Mix with a whisk. Stir in water and lemon juice until smooth. Separate eggs. Set egg whites aside to use in the meringue. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with the whisk until well mixed. Stir into cold liquid in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in lemon zest and butter. Continue to cook until butter melts. Turn off burner, but keep pan warm.
While lemon filling is cooking, prepare meringue: Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually beat in ½ cup + 2 Tbs sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fit with a large tip.
Place fillo shells onto a baking sheet. Spoon hot lemon filling into fillo shells. Pipe meringue onto filling. Bake at 350°F for 13-15 minutes.
Makes about 45 mini lemon meringue pie bites.
For regular Lemon Meringue Pie: Prepare filling and meringue as directed, but do not spoon meringue into a pastry bag. Pour hot lemon filling into a baked pie crust. Spoon meringue over hot filling, spreading to seal to edge of pastry crust. Use the back of a spoon to make peaks. Bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Cool completely to room temperature before slicing.