Topping a pie crust with a sugar or spice blend is the best way to bring an already mouthwatering pie to the next level! It takes no extra time or effort to do, but makes a huge difference! After you try it once, you'll never make a pie without topping the crust again!
Pie Crust Toppings
Topping your pie crust is an amazingly easy and simple way to elevate both the flavor and texture of your pie. It does not require any real effort, takes only seconds to do, and uses ingredients you already have.
While it may seem unnecessary or trivial, trust me when I say that it can really make an impact! I'm going to let you know which toppings are my favorite and how they make your pie even better!
Coating The Crust
When sprinkling a tasty topping over your pie crust, you first need to apply a base coat that will ensure the topping sticks! Not only does it act as a glue for your yummy sugar coating, but it also helps your pie crust develop an extra flaky texture while baking!
Try one of these simple and popular washes for a perfect base layer. All of these should be lightly brushed over your pie crust before sprinkling on your topping and placing it into the oven.
- Egg White: A simple egg white that has been separated from the yolk. This will add a beautiful golden color and shiny finish to your pie crust.
- Water: Water won't do much in terms of the appearance of your crust. However, it will help the topping to stick, so it is better than nothing.
- Whole Egg: Using a whole egg for an egg wash is extremely popular. It adds the most color to the crust (more than any of the other options presented) and is nice and shiny.
- Milk: Using milk is just a slight step up from using water. It will add just a hint of sheen to the crust and a tiny bit of color.
- Butter: Butter won't achieve a golden crust to the same extent that using an egg wash does. However, it does add a hint of flavor!
Adding The Toppings
After adding on the wash of your choice, go ahead and sprinkle it with your favorite topping! You can't go wrong with which one you choose, so pick your favorite!
- Granulated Sugar: This is the common, standard sugar that you use for a ton of different things. When baked, it slightly melts down, adding an extra sweet layer on top of your pie.
- Cinnamon Sugar: This is a combination of both cinnamon and sugar to add some sweetness as well as some warmth! Plus, it adds a beautiful brown color!
- Coarse Sparkling Sugar: This sugar has large granules. When baked, it only slightly melts down, adding a crunchy texture alongside the sugary sweetness.
- Powdered Sugar: This is the same thing as confectioner's sugar, which is a very fine and silky sugar that is commonly used in making icing. After baking on top of the pie crust, it still has a white haziness to it.
- Flour: Note that adding all-purpose flour as a topping is only recommended when you used melted butter as the undercoat. When combining these two, you will get a velvety texture and a rich buttery flavor.
- Belgian Pearl Sugar: This is an extra-coarse sugar that is often referred to as sugar nibs. It maintains its crunchy texture (even after baking) and doesn't melt down. Additionally, the color remains a brilliant bright white!
- Apple Pie Spice: Apple pie spice is a combination of different warming spices to make an extra special blend of fall flavors. This topping will add some wonderful flavor and color to your pie crust. You can use it in combination with granulated sugar to add some sweetness, as well!
Of course, these combinations of washes and toppings all yield different results. So which one is the best?
Honestly, I like all of them for different reasons! I swap them out depending on the type of pie, who I'm serving, or simply what I'm in the mood for.
Some fillings complement the warmth of cinnamon, so I'll opt for cinnamon sugar. Apple pie, of course, can always go well with apple pie spice!
Sometimes I am serving some guests that are more on the minimalist side and would appreciate the butter and flour combination. Or, maybe I want to add some texture to contrast a soft filling.
They all taste great and add tasty and beautiful elements to your pie.
I urge you to test out different combinations to find what you like best. Leave a comment down below and let me know which pie topping is your personal favorite!
🥧 Helpful Pie Guides
- Pie Crust Alternatives - Check out this list of fantastic pie crust alternatives for when you're wanting a dessert that is a little more unique!
- Best Pie Dough - This pie dough uses both butter and shortening to get the best of both worlds!
- How To Make Canned Cherry Pie Filling Better - If you're not in the mood to make some homemade pie filling, check out these tips to make the store-bought variety taste better!
- Best Cherry Varieties For Pie - An amazing cherry pie starts with choosing the best kind of cherries for the job!
- Best Apples For Apple Pie - Not all apples are the same, make sure you pick out the varieties that can stand up to the heat of the oven!
- Apple Pie Filling Substitute - No matter the reason, some days you just might not have apple pie filling. Take a look at these awesome alternatives!
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📖 Recipe Card
Topping A Pie Crust: Blueberry Pie (+Best Pie Toppings)
- To begin, preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) and zest the lemon.1 large lemon
- While the oven has preheats, grab a large mixing bowl and mix together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest & juice, cinnamon, and salt. Then gently fold in your blueberries until combined.1 cup sugar, 6 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 large lemon, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 pinch salt, 6 cups blueberries
- Roll and place half of the crust into your pie plate (reserving the other half to top the pie). Fill the crust with your blueberry mixture and top with the remaining crust. Cut 4 or 5 slits in the pie crust to allow steam to escape OR cut the top half of your crust into 1-inch strips and create a lattice by weaving them across your pie.1 9" butter pie crust
- Place your pie on a baking sheet to catch any messy drippings then transfer to the center rack and bake at 400°F (205°C) for 45-55 minutes.
- Your pie is done when the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. Remove it from the oven then allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.
- If your pie begins to brown too much, you can cover it with foil.
- A lattice cutter may also be used rather than cutting the pie crust into strips.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!