molasses pie
Shoofly pie—a molasses-filled, crumb-topped concoction from Pennsylvania Dutch country—was supposedly given its name because its shiny, sweet, and aromatic filling attracted flies that needed to be politely asked to leave. The pie, which is sprinkled with buttery crumbs that sink into the molasses and give it a cakelike consistency when baked, is classically served one of two ways: "wet bottom" (cakelike up top and still fudgy below) or "dry bottom" (cakelike throughout). To us, it was a no-brainer to stop baking when the bottommost layer remained gooey and custard-like. Get the recipe for Molasses Pie ». Matt Taylor-Gross

There is no such thing as pie season—pie is meant to be baked and eaten year-round, thankyouverymuch—but there is certainly such a thing as Pie Time. This, if you were wondering, is the beginning of Pie Time, when ruby-hued strawberries, cherries, peaches, and (yes) tomatoes start hitting the markets, and we, for wont of what to do with them all, ramp up our pie production to keep up.

To make the most of Pie Time, here’s what we’re calling our essential pie toolkit, with what we think you truly need to make excellent pie. Stock up, then start baking your pies right now. Pie may be year-round, but Pie Time is nigh.

Rolling Pin

We much prefer the styles with handles along a central spine, rather than the one-piece French model, because they allow far more control as you roll. That translates into a more evenly rolled dough and fewer rolls overall. Amazon

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Pie Weights

Blind-baking is an important step to ensure a flat and crispy crust—bake it for a few minutes in the oven before adding your filling to set it in place and add to give it a head start so your fruit or custard doesn’t turn it into mush. The risk with blind-baking is puffing the bottom crust as moisture in the dough turns to steam. To prevent this, 1) dock your dough with a fork to let steam vent out, and 2) line the crust with parchment paper and weigh it down with these pie weights. Amazon

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Some people prefer using dried beans as their weights, and we get it, beans are cheaper. But they also develop some funky smells in the oven after a few pies. These ceramic weights, not so much.

Pie Dish

This is your best all-purpose pie dish: Pyrex 9-inch glass model without flutes so you’re not locked into that design. 9 inches is the standard size for most recipes, and Pyrex is durable, inexpensive, and doesn’t conduct heat too quickly for evenly cooked pies. Amazon

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Deep Pie Dish

This is in fact different from a regular pie plate. Deep dish pies, such as many double-crusted apple pie recipes, need deeper/larger dough rounds and a lot more filling so that they don’t shrink in the pan when baked. They don’t need to be ceramic, but they do need to be deep. This Emile Henry design is pretty enough to use as a dessert table centerpiece. Amazon

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Rimmed Baking Sheet

You should have one of these under every pie you bake, especially fruit pies, which have a tendency to ooze and bubble over the sides. Line it with foil or parchment paper to save yourself a lot of sticky cleanup afterward. Bonus: These make for easier pie insertion and removal in hot ovens. Amazon

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Cooling Rack

Most pies need to be cooled at least partially before you slice them, to give the filling time to set up so it doesn’t run right out of the crust when you slice in. Metal pie racks help the air circulate around the pie so they cool faster. Amazon

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Food Processor

When it comes to making buttery pie dough, we’re fans of food processors. They’re fast, encourage even mixing, and are much easier than folding the dough by hand. Cuisinart is the go-to here. Amazon

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Pastry Cutter

But every once in a while, when Stacy doesn’t feel like taking out the machine—or if she’s making pie at a friend’s—she’ll do it by hand. If you have a pastry cutter, this is the most efficient way: It prevents you from having to work the butter into the flour with your fingers, which can soften the butter too much and get in the way of flaky, puffy pie crusts. Amazon

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