Here’s a lovely assortment of ideas showing how to make decorative tops for pies and tips for handling the pastry. There are also some good ideas for edgings added to the bottom of the page. I found them in my vintage recipe scrapbook and although they’re oldies, they are goodies!
Make this pretty lattice by twisting 3/4-inch pastry strips and lining them up across top. Place other strips diagonally, twisting them as you weave. Lower crust is folded over strips and crimped to guard juice.
It’s as easy as it looks to crimp this attractive edge. Here’s how: Press pastry between forefinger of one hand and thumb and forefinger of the other. Or press the handle of a silver knife or rubber spatula between your thumb and forefinger.
Here’s something dainty that’s simple in the making. Cut petals with the center of doughnut cutter bent in shape of cherry leaf. Overlap petals around the moistened rim, pressing each petal carefully in place to seal.
Use tip of teaspoon to make this fancy decoration. After trimming lower piece 3/4 inch beyond rim, fold it over strips, pinching edges. Then press double row of half-moons with tip of teaspoon.
When in a rush, top a cherry pie with a spiral twist. Cut long strips 3/4 inch wide. Then moisten the ends and join the strips together. Twist the long strip and swirl it atop, as above.
Results will be a beautiful, golden-brown edge if protected with aluminum foil for part of baking. Fold a 2-1/2 inch foil strip around rim, making certain that foil covers all the crimped edge.
For uniform strips, you can make yourself a cardboard guide. Cut a 12-inch length that’s about 1/2 inch wide. For a zigzag pastry, cut along cardboard pattern with pastry wheel. Or use a knife for pastry strips with plain, even edge.
Here’s an easy to to weave a top. Place lengthwise strips across then fold back alternating strips to help you weave cross-strips over and under.
Looking for a slick trick for weaving with even spacings? Draw a pattern on waxed paper with dark crayon. Turn pattern face down for weaving. Now for sleight of hand–hold over pie, give waxed paper quick flip.
Weave the strips on a cookie sheet sprinkled generously with sugar. Tilt cooky sheet over far edge of pie and move cooky sheet toward you. The top slides onto the Cherry Filling quick as that–sugar acts as rollers!
Here’s how to cut a circle of pastry that’s just the right size for the bottom: Invert pie plate on pastry. Cut around it 1 1/2 inches from the rim of the plate. You’ll need pastry extending beyond rim for crimping.
Edge is double. Use your index finger or the handle of a knife to make the indentations. The thumb and index finger of your other hand are a wedge to push against to make the scallop around the knife handle. If definite points are wanted, as in the picture, rather than rounded fluting, pinch curved edge into point.
Edge is double. Use the index finger and thumb of both hands, as in the picture, to make the fluted effect. To make it zigzag, use a diagonal motion, bringing the fingers of your left hand toward you, pushing the fingers of your right hand toward the center, or almost directly in front of your left hand.
Trimmed at edge of pan. Cut rolled pastry into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Moisten edge of pastry in pan. Interlace two strips on edge, as shown. Keep strips flat–don’t twist or turn over; never pull or stretch. To seal, press rounded edge on both sides of crisscrossed strip tightly against moistened edge with your finger.
Trimmed at edge of pan. Cut rolled pastry into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Moisten rim of pastry in pan. Seal one end of strip to moistened pastry. Hold with finger of left hand; twist strip with right hand. With finger of left hand seal each flattened space of twist against rim of pastry. Don’t stretch while twisting.
Source: Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (1950’s)