Cooking Tips

Take Any Pie From Good to Great with a Flavored Crust

Easy mix-ins add intrigue to pies, tarts, and galettes.

Published Nov. 20, 2023.

To say I love pie is an understatement. I eat leftover, fridge-cold pie for breakfast, stick candles in pie for my birthday, and tote hand pies to the beach for seaside snacking. And while I’ll never grow tired of the fruity simplicity of a perfect peach pie or the earthy, cinnamon-inflected sweetness of a classic pumpkin pie, sometimes I yearn to shake things up a bit—especially around the holidays.

The answer, my fellow bakers, is to incorporate complementary flavorings into the crust. Just a few teaspoons of this or a tablespoon of that will transform your pies, tarts, and galettes into something truly unique.

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How to Incorporate Flavorings Into Pie Dough

We have found that a few simple strategies are necessary for success.

  • To ensure that the new flavor notes aren't drowned out by those in the filling, use generous amounts of concentrated ingredients such as extracts or citrus zest and dried herbs instead of fresh.
  • For even dispersal, grind dry ingredients with the sugar and salt in the dough using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  • When adding a liquid extract to the dough, deduct the same amount of water from the dough to keep it from baking up tough.

The Perfect Pie

Bake beautiful, foolproof versions of the corner bakery classics and French patisserie favorites—plus a host of whimsical, modern pies and tarts of all kinds with sky-high meringue pies, uniquely flavored fruit pies with intricate lattice-woven tops, and lush elegant tarts.

To start you off, here are some ideas for enhancing a few of the classics: Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie, and Peach Pie. Try these, then experiment on your own.

Pumpkin Pie

Flavoring: 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

How to incorporate: Grind with sugar and salt in dough

Also try with: Pecan Pie 

Apple Pie

FLAVORING: 4 teaspoons vanilla extract

HOW TO INCORPORATE: Add to dough in place of 2 teaspoons ice water  

ALSO TRY WITH: Pecan Pie  or any fruit pie

Blueberry Pie

Flavoring: 2 teaspoons lavender

How to incorporate: Grind with sugar and salt in dough

Also try with: Strawberry pie 

Peach Pie

Flavorings: 2 teaspoons dried thyme and 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

How to incorporate: Grind with sugar and salt in dough

Also try with: Chicken Pot Pie 

Flavoring Pie Dough with Whole Grain Flour

Here's another idea: Try swapping a portion of the all-purpose flour in your pie dough with whole-grain flour such as whole wheat (lovely with apple, plum, or rhubarb pie) or rye (great for apricot or sour cherry pie or a cheese tart).  

Substitute 1½ cups (8¼ ounces) whole-wheat or rye flour for first addition of all-purpose flour in our Foolproof All-Butter Double-Crust Pie Dough.


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