Thanksgiving tips: How to bake the perfect pie

Whether you're making a custard or fruit pie, The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica offers ways to make perfect crust and options for most any palate.

Chef Clemence Gossett, co-owner of The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, appears to know all the tricks to perfect pie.

"Anytime you are adding brown sugar you definitely want to add flour because brown sugar is wet," said Gossett, the school's co-owner.

She also added spices like cardamom, ginger, even black pepper to the fruit, then she topped the mixture with butter.

"You want your apples to cook in something. You want there to be some extra fat in there," she said.

The filling is important but making a flaky crust is an art form. Gossett makes dough into discs and puts them in the fridge, because keeping butter cold is crucial.

When you're getting ready to make your pie crust, you get to beat the dough. This is great for any aggression you might have in today's L.A. climate.

"Beat them into submission until you really start rolling them. You don't want to overwork your crust," said Gossett.

When you start rolling she advises:
"Roll up and then stop just shy of the edge, center down, pick it up and give it a quarter turn. That's because you want your pie dough not to stick to the table every time you turn it. Also, you want it to be purely square or circular," she said.

If it's a custard pie, bake the crust with pie weights like reusable dried beans and rice just until the crust edge gets golden brown. Remove the weights and put it back in the oven for a few minutes before adding custard.

As for crimping the edge, Gossett said, "I take my thumb and index finger here. I'm going to put them on the inside of the pie and I'm going to take the index finger of the other hand and pushed through."

For a lattice top pie, cut different sized strips, lay close together, then start your weave.

"Every other strip gets pulled back," she said.

If you are doing a double crust pie, make sure and create vents on the top. Nobody likes a gummy crust.

Along with a pie class, they offer other holiday classes as well.
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