Dear Eater SF,
I love variety when it comes to food. This Thanksgiving, a friend suggested we order several pies and trade slices for a maximum variety of flavors. But I’m a mess when it comes to cake-cutting or any related slicing activity. What’s the best way to cleanly cut some pies for sharing?
Dianne de Guzman, professional food writer — and pie-cutting doofus
Okay, yes. This call is coming from inside the house. I’m terrible at portioning out desserts in cute, still-Instagramable pieces. The above scenario is real, and I have extreme anxiety about the cutting up of desserts.
Still, thanks to my job as a defacto authority on food, on most special occasions I’m designated as the cake-slicer or pie-cutter or otherwise end up in a situation as the unofficial Splitter of All Things Food, Both Complicated and Annoying. If you haven’t cut a cake as people watch and demand smaller — “Smaller than that!” — slices, mid-cut, then you haven’t lived.
I digress. I’m an adult who’s been through this rigamarole enough times you’d think I would’ve learned a trick or two by now. But nope, I’ve been willfully dodging this task as much as possible (Editor’s note: please stop making women the default food-divvy-uppers!), so I asked the fine folks at Oakland’s hit dessert shop Edith’s Pies to help a writer out.
Edith’s Pie chef and owner Mike Raskin was happy to share a couple of pie-slicing tips and tricks the team uses at the shop. First things first, the knife: Raskin shares that Edith’s Pie uses offset bread knives for pie slicing, though a serrated knife should most likely work in an at-home scenario.
For a double-crust pie, here’s what Raskin suggests:
“In an ideal world, our butter crust pies will pop right out of the pan and onto your cutting board,” Raskin writes. “Saw the crimp a little bit, then cut it — almost like cutting raw meat. Do a clean draw, through the pie, with the knife. Placing the knife in hot water and then wiping it dry with a towel can help get a clean cut, too. That’s how we cut them.”
Of course, not all pies sport those photo-worthy double crust. Fortunately, Raskin has tips for a crumbly Graham cracker or cookie-crusted pie, as well:
“The Graham crust pies don’t do so well with that treatment,” Raskin writes. “For those, we use the tip of the bread knife and drag it across the bottom of the pie tin, then lift it out. It beats up the pan a little bit but gives you a sturdier crust while you’re cutting.”
With that, we wish everyone the best of luck with their pie-slicing this Thanksgiving and always. May your slices be neat, and your pies sweet.