January 9, 2013 10:12:11 AM
Making your own pie is one of the best gifts you can give your table, your family and friends.
Retailers are offering lots of cool implements to help you create your own stellar versions, so let the baking begin.
A flaky, not-overworked dough is key to a delicious pie. Oxo's Good Grips stainless-steel-bladed dough blender is easy to hold and maneuver. (oxo.com, $9.99)
Place the dough in one of Kitchen Krafts' round plastic pouches that are the exact diameter of a pie plate -- you just roll until the dough slab moves to the perimeter of the bag. No messy board flouring or guessing at crust sizes. (kitchenkrafts.com, $9.95)
To end up with nice smooth dough, many bakers like a silicone roller that doesn't stick. Head Chefs has them -- with handles and without -- in various colors, including olive and red. If you've got young helpers in the kitchen, there are junior versions too, in yellow, blueberry, pink, lime and apricot. (headchefs.com, Sil-Pin rolling pins, $29.99 and $39.99; kids, $12.99)
Pop your pie dough in an attractive baking pan that you can take right to the table. French ceramic bakeware maker Emile Henry has pretty fluted-edge pans in blue, apricot and green. (kitchenconservatory.com, $39.95; check homegoods.com for off-price versions)
Pfaltzgraff's Winterberry pie pan has a pretty seasonal pattern and includes a steam releaser in the form of a cheerful little cardinal. (pfaltzgraff.com, $40)
Decorate the top of your pie crust with one of the pattern makers from Kitchen Maven; choose from apples, hearts, lattice or Christmas trees. You can purchase individually or get the set.
Pie-pops and more
What's better than a big piece of pie? Lots of little ones. Babycakes Pie-Pop Maker is a Foreman-grill style cooker for making bite-size pie pops -- make savory ones for a cocktail soiree, or sweet for a kid's party. (surlatable.com, $29.95)
Williams-Sonoma has a similar gadget, the Breville Pie Maker, that makes four mini pies in about eight minutes. These wee pastries make tasty thank-you gift options for all the helpers in your life.
Pie bakers often worry about a burnt crust edge; luckily, there's a handy shield available that you place along the rim of your pie as it finishes cooking. (williams-sonoma.com, pastry cutters, four for $19.95; pie crust mix, $10; pie maker $99.95; crust shield, $8)
Taking dessert to a dinner party? Pies can be tricky to transport, but you can tote yours safely and stylishly in one of Vonny's sturdy round zippered pie carriers. Each features a colorful stripe, floral or dot design and a nonskid interior. (vonny.com, $64)
Sur la Table has a clever collapsible carrier that can hold two pies, or a tall one like meringue, and has a non-slip ring inside. (surlatable.com, $29.95)
If you'd like to forgo the plastic, get Amish Wares' pie-carrying basket. It'll hold two pies, and is crafted of hand woven wood. (amishwares.com, $43.95)
Like the best pies, it has homemade charm that's hard to resist.
4. Out and About for the week of December 21, 2014 ENTERTAINMENT