Making a pie from scratch can be challenging—and by the time you get it in the oven, you don't want to mess up the last step. Here are a few tips for knowing when your pie is ready.

Know Your Oven Temperature

Ovens are inaccurate, and since all ovens cycle on and off to maintain temperature, even the best models may periodically deviate from the desired target by at least a few degrees during cooking. We recommend recalibrating your oven regularly, but in the meantime, a reliable oven thermometer will tell you what's really going on.

The Crust

How do you know when your parbaked pie crust is done? For pies, it's all about color. A well-browned crust is more flavorful than a blond one, and it won't be doughy in the middle. Our favorite pie plate is made of gold-colored aluminized steel, a material that gives pie crusts optimal browning; even bottom crusts emerge crisp and flaky.

The Filling

For both pumpkin and pecan pies, make sure that the filling is hot when added to the warm parbaked crust so that the creamy custard filling sets up quickly in the oven and doesn't soak into the pie crust. For pumpkin pie, bake until the internal temperature hits 175 degrees (use an instant-read thermometer). Be sure that the center of the pumpkin pie jiggles slightly; it will set up as it cools. For pecan pie, bake the filling to an internal temperature of 185 degrees.