Learning how to make a lattice is an essential skill to master for the art of making pies. It may seem intimidating, but it’s quite easy to do! Following these simple directions, you can become an expert in no time!
The Best Way to Make a Lattice Pie Crust
If you want that classic, Americana finish to your homemade pie, you certainly must learn the skill of weaving a lattice crust. Many people are intimidated by making a lattice pie crust, but it’s actually quite simple to do if you follow a few easy tips and tricks.
Aside from being extremely beautiful, a lattice actually serves a purpose! Some pies, especially fruit pies, need to have a means for the built-up steam from baking to escape. A lattice pie is essentially built-in ventilation!
Here is a list of some of the primary tools I used in this recipe. You won't necessarily choose to use them all, but they are exactly what I used here. The links may contain affiliate links.
- rolling pin
- pie dish
- ruler (it's helpful if you have a ruler the same size as you want your lattice)
- pastry wheel or pizza cutter or sharp knife
- kitchen shears or sharp knife
- bench scraper
- pastry brush (for applying egg wash)
Best Pie Dough for a Lattice
Maybe the most important aspect of making a lattice pie crust is starting with a well-made, homemade pie pastry! While you can certainly make a lattice with a store-bought crust, you may find it a bit tricky depending on the brand, quality and how thin it is rolled.
If you attempt to make a lattice with poorly made pie crust, it might end up being a losing battle. Your homemade pie crust should be properly hydrated. If it has dry spots, the lattice pieces could easily break apart.
It should be chilled and rested. I recommend resting it overnight for the best outcome.
You can use any of these pie crust recipes to make a lattice:
Can You Make a Gluten Free Lattice Pie?
It's a lot trickier to make a lattice pie crust with Gluten Free Pie Pastry. This is because it lacks the gluten that is essential to keeping the pie dough together. In addition, GF pie pastry is a lot more temperamental in terms of temperature, so you may find that if it's too cold, it cracks, and if it's too warm, it breaks apart.
With that being said, I've made plenty of lattice pie crusts with this Gluten Free Pie Pastry, but you must have the patience and work delicately.
Steps for Weaving a Pie Lattice
Every baker is going to have their own way of making a lattice pie. I'm so thrilled to share mine with step-by-step photos.
I didn't realize that my way of making a lattice pie is somewhat unique; a few years ago, somebody saw me making it and told me that they had never seen it done this way before! Of course, I think this is the easiest method to weave a lattice, but do know there are other methods out there.
I've used the same method since the very first lattice I made more than 13 years ago, and it just feels like the easiest way to do it. Like anything, practice makes perfect.
I like to think of making a lattice this way as building it from the center and out.
Step 1: Place a horizontal piece of dough in the middle of your pie.
Step 2: Place a vertical strip of dough in the middle of the horizontal strip.
Step 3: Place one horizontal strip above and one below the first horizontal strip. You should now have 3 horizontal dough strips.
Step 4: Take the right end of the middle horizontal strip and flip it over itself. Place a vertical strip next to the first vertical strip. Fold the horizontal strip back and over the vertical one.
Step 5: Repeat these steps with the left end of the middle horizontal strip. You should at this point now have weaved in 6 lattice pieces.
Step 6: Take the bottom end of the middle vertical strip and flip it over. Place a horizontal strip and place it below the last one. Flip the vertical strip back over the horizontal one.
Step 7: Repeat this with the top end of the middle vertical strip.
Step 8: Flip back the left end of the 2nd and 4th horizontal strips. Place the last vertical strip on the left end. Flip over the horizontal strips.
Step 9: Repeat these steps with the right end of the 2nd and 4th horizontal strips. You should now have a weaved 10 strips of dough to form your lattice.
Using this basic formula, you could weave a larger lattice using smaller strips of dough, or even a smaller lattice consisting of 6 larger pieces of dough.
Tips for Success
As with nearly any skill you learn, the more you do it, the more you pick up tips and tricks along the way. Here are my tips I've learned after making lattices for the last decade:
- You must start with a high-quality homemade pie crust. By high-quality, that means that it should be properly made and properly hydrated. A poorly hydrated pie will crack if you try to make a lattice. Please check out this Butter Pie Crust recipe for more tricks on how to make a butter pie dough!
- You might want to make extra pie dough! Depending on the type of lattice you want to make, in terms of the number of pleats and the width of it, you might need extra dough. I have always found that using only one pie dough disk for a lattice requires it to be rolled rather thin, which can make the weaving process a little more difficult. I prefer to plan on using 3 pie doughs to make the lattice exactly how I'd like it to look. You really only need about 2-½, so you can plan to save the other half of the dough for future use for your next lattice.
- Use a ruler for an even looking lattice. A ruler is good for two reasons. The first is that it gives you a straight line to cut the pieces of dough. And the second is that you can use the ruler to figure out where the strips of pie dough need to go to be even. I don't worry as much about the latter, as I usually just eyeball it. However, if you are concerned about having a very neat lattice, a ruler is the way to go.
- Keep your lattice strips cold! If your pie dough gets too warm, you could risk breaking it. If I have time, I roll out my bottom pie crust, and my lattice strips ahead of time. I find this helpful so the gluten can relax (which makes for a prettier lattice), and so that is thoroughly cold when I'm weaving the lattice. If at any point the dough gets too warm, place it on a sheet tray in the refrigerator to chill.
- Make different sized lattice strips for a unique design. You can also incorporate braids or other unique elements into your lattice. Get creative!
Baking a Pie with a Lattice
Baking a lattice pie is no different than baking a pie with a regular top crust. The basic rule for baking a beautiful pie is to put a very cold pie in a very hot oven! This ensures the pastry is able to set, will not sag or melt, and will build up plenty of steam for the pastry to create a beautiful flaky crust.
Because the pie pastry has likely been warmed while it was weaved into a lattice, it is always a safe bet to stick the unbaked pie in the freezer for 10-20 minutes prior to baking, to ensure it is fully chilled.
After the pie has been chilled, the pastry should be brushed with an egg wash, and if desired, sprinkled with sugar.
A lattice, like most pies with butter pie crust, should be baked on the lowest rack at 425ºF. However, it is best to consult the recipe for the pie that you are making to confirm that is the suggested temperature.
Pie Recipes That Use a Lattice
Fruit pies tend to be the best pies for baking with a lattice top. However, one thing to note is that if your pie filling uses quick-cooking tapioca, you will have to make a tightly weaved lattice. The reason for this is because quick-cooking tapioca can harden when it is baked without a top crust, and a wide lattice can trigger this to happen.
Here are some recipes to make to practice your lattice weaving skills:
- Apple Pie Filling
- Ginger Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Spiced Blackberry Pie
- Sweet Cherry Pie
- Cranberry and Blueberry Pie
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