Basics: How To Lattice Pastry

Image of latticed pie

Great British Bake Off fans may recall an episode when Mary Berry ticked off a competitor for failing to interweave the lattices on his or her pastry properly, just laying the strips over each other instead.

On a scale of one to 10, whether or not one can lattice a pie is hardly up there with masterminding world peace and ending global hunger and more competent pastry cooks will probably be rolling their eyes, but I confess it’s an art that had largely eluded me, too.

Then I saw this really useful post on the BBC Good Food website. I hope the author, Cassie Best, will forgive me nicking the method and using it here but I had to share it. It’s one of those things that has you saying ‘oh well of course that’s how you do it’. Check out Cassie’s feature for other nifty ways to pimp your pies.

Even using this method I sometimes get it arsy-versy … I’d never get a job as a basket weaver and don’t ask me how many times I made sausage pie to photograph this guide … but for anyone less spatially-challenged it’s a good way of getting a professional result.

How to Lattice Pastry

Line your pie tin with pastry and put in the filling. Cut out strips of pastry for the lattice.

Arrange the strips of pastry on your pie in one direction, top to bottom, spacing them evenly. Fold back alternate strips from the centre, then lay a strip horizontally across the middle, near the fold.

Image of step 1

Flip the folded strips back to cover the middle strip.

Image of Step 2

Fold back the strips that are woven under the centre strip.

Lay another horizontal strip across the middle, and flip alternate strips back again.

Image of step 3

Repeat until you have a woven pattern – I found it easiest to rotate the pie at the halfway point so I was still working upwards to the top edge.

Image of latticed pie ready for the oven

As to the glaze …  Mary Berry says you should egg wash in advance of cutting the pastry strips and that would certainly give a more even colour. I found it made them slippery to handle, but I think we’ve already established that this isn’t my area of expertise. I egg washed after weaving.

Once you have assembled the pie, bake according to your specific recipe instructions.

Image of cooked pie

16 thoughts on “Basics: How To Lattice Pastry

  1. I am all thumbs when it comes to this kind of thing, Linda. I have a hard time getting even strips cut — and that’s using a straight edge to do it! To get around the problem, I bought a set of leaf stamps. Now, rather than fiddle with strips, I cover the pie top with leaves. Not only do I avoid the the lattice, but there’s no edge to tuck and crimp. And people wonder why I don’t bake much. Leaves will only take you so far …

    • Well, you can see from my pie that the strips are uneven in size. Even if I cut them evenly I’m so cack-handed they stretch when I’m moving them around. So you are not alone. I’m slightly in awe of those people who do madly elaborate pie toppings, although I sometimes wonder if what the pie actually tastes like. It’s flavour over appearance every time in our house (yes, ok, I’m making excuses). Lx

  2. Wow, I could never pull this off. I too am not a baker precisely because I’m hopeless at fiddly things. Looks marvellous though. I’ve been reading Kate Colquhoun, who yesterday informed me that ‘egg yolks, dandelion petals or musty saffron were used to endore pie crusts.’ I rather like the word ‘endore.’

    • But that’s the joy of this, even someone as cack-handed as me can do it! I don’t know who Kate Colquhoun is, I’ll have to look her up, but yes, thumbs-up to endore. After making my recent saffron pastry I think I am the Witch of Endore. Musty, though? 🙂

  3. I was laughing at the thought of the mess I would get into!! Having said that I am going to give it ago! I’m thinking in the new year with a glass of something to keep me calm!! Haha … yours looks great Linda!! x

    • Well, as you can see, even using this method mine is hardly pristine in terms of presentation. It does make it easier though. Hope you enjoy getting in a tangle! 🙂

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