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A lattice pie is a pie with a top crust which has been formed in a lattice pattern. Lattice toppings are popular for berry pies, although they can be used for other styles of pie as well, and they tend to be most commonly utilized in sweet pies, with savory pies being closed with a solid crust. Making a lattice pie is relatively simple, and there are several different ways to make the lattice topping.
Making a lattice pie starts with making and rolling out a bottom crust which will be used to line the pie plate, and then spooning in the filling of choice. The filling is usually smoothed to make an even surface for the lattice, as bumps and divots in the filling will cause corresponding areas of unevenness in the lattice crust.
The simplest way to make a lattice topping is to roll out a sheet of pie dough, cut it into strips, and then arrange a series of strips facing one way before overlaying those strips with a set oriented at a 90 degree angle. The ends of the strips are pinched into the bottom crust to form a connection, and the pie can be baked. This lattice topping, however, tends not to look very visually interesting.
Many bakers prefer to weave their lattice topping, by laying a set of strips facing in one direction, and then carefully interweaving a set which goes in the opposite direction. This holds the lattice topping together, and it looks much neater and more elegant than a topping made in the simpler style. The woven topping may also be brushed with egg so that it will develop a glossy appearance in the oven.
For people who dislike meddling with strips, it is possible to find a lattice cutter, a kitchen gadget which will create the topping for a lattice pie as a single piece by punching out holes in a pie crust. This cut lattice can then be carefully lowered over the filling and crimped to the bottom crust. It is also possible to freehand a cut lattice, and adventurous cooks can even try making lace and other patterns to dress up their lattice pies.
Because a lattice pie has a a partially open topping, bakers should be wary of wet pies, as highly liquid fillings can bubble up and make a significant mess, in addition to looking unsightly. Cornstarch, flour, or another thickener should be added to the filling so that it will be less likely to run over during the baking process.