Boiling Point: Professionals' pie-decorating secrets

Jim Hillibish

I was at a bakery counter marveling at the pies. There were a dozen, and each was perfectly made, as if stamped from a machine. There were lattices and all other manner of pie-top decoration.

If you’ve ever baked pies, you know that just one can take all afternoon, especially the top crust.

I asked the bakery clerk if I could meet the person who decorated all of these pies. She returned with a metal plate.

“This is how we do it,” she said in a low voice. “Don’t tell anybody.”

Who, me?

Enter the amazing world of the pie-top crust cutter, a device that ends forever the curse of sloppy pies. No more overtaxing your dexterity trying to make pies as beautiful as your grandma’s. These can go to the church supper without destroying your reputation.

Roll out your top dough on a floured surface and place the metal or plastic pie-top cutter plate on it. Then use your rolling pin to force the cutter into the dough. Remove the plate and enjoy the perfect design.

Some plates are stencils. You place it on the dough and cut out the shapes with a knife. 

(Butter and brown-sugar the cuttings and bake for mini cookies.)

Cutters are available in a number of themes, including lattices, pinwheels and fruit. They can cost less than $4 on or at kitchen-supply stores.

Jim Hillibish writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. He can be reached at