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Helpful Hints: Desserts – Cake, Pie, Cheesecake

For Pie:

  • Keep eggs at room temperature to create greater volume when whipping egg whites for meringue.
  • Pie dough can be frozen. Roll dough out between sheets of plastic wrap, stack in a pizza box, and keep the box in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge and use as needed. Use within 2 months.
  • Place your pie plate on a cake stand or a lazy susan/turntable when ready to flute the edges of the pie. The cake stand will make it easier to turn the pie plate, and you won’t have to stoop over.
  • When making decorative pie edges, use a spoon for a scalloped edge. Use a fork to make crosshatched and herringbone patterns.
  • When cutting butter into flour for pastry dough, the process is easier if you cut the butter into small pieces before adding it to the flour.
  • Pumpkin and other custard-style pies are done when they jiggle slightly in the middle.
  • Fruit pies are done when the pastry is golden, juices bubble, and fruit is tender.

For Cake:

  • Keep the cake plate clean while frosting by sliding 6-inch strips of waxed paper under each side of the cake. Once the cake is frosted and the frosting is set, pull the strips away, leaving a clean plate.
  • Create a quick decorating tube to ice your cake with chocolate. Put chocolate in a heat-safe, zipper-lock plastic bag. Immerse it in simmering water until the chocolate is melted; or microwave for a few seconds. Snip off the tip of one corner, and squeeze the chocolate out of the bag.
  • Achieve professionally decorated cakes with a silky, molten look by blow-drying the frosting with a hair dryer until the frosting melts slightly.
  • To ensure that you have equal amounts of batter in each pan when making a layered cake, use a kitchen scale to measure the weight.

For Cheesecake

  • Prevent cracking in your cheesecake by placing a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom oven rack and keeping the oven door shut during baking.
  • A cheesecake needs several hours to chill and set.
  • For a perfectly cut cheesecake, dip the knife into hot water and clean it after each cut. You can also use a length of dental floss or sewing thread taut and pull it down through the cheesecake to make a clean cut across the diameter of the cake.