Amongst the mall-battling, tree-trimming and gift-wrapping, making your own crust for the perfect holiday pie is probably last on your to-do list this year. And it should be. With all the packaged options for pie crusts in grocery stores, making pastry dough in Florida’s December humidity is an unnecessary migraine. We tested three of the pre-made options to make putting together your holiday confection as easy as, well, pie.

Mrs. Smith’s Ready-to-Fill Crust
($1.99 for two frozen crusts in pie tins)

Time: Instant. Just pour and bake.

Difficulty Level: Sasquatch.

Taste: Dry, mealy crumb. Browns prematurely, making for a slightly burnt taste. The opposite of moist or flaky.

Notes: The crust only comes as a single layer, so it only works for pies that don’t need a top crust like pumpkin, key lime or anything with meringue on top. Just make sure the filling is especially good so no one notices that the crust tastes like gravel.

Pillsbury Rolled Refrigerated Pie Crusts ($2.39 for two crusts)

Time: Two minutes, 35 seconds.

Difficulty Level: Easy enough for Santa’s little helpers.

Taste: Extra-flaky rim. Undesirably chewy on the bottom; would benefit from a five-
minute bake before adding the filling to prevent sogginess.

Notes: Excellent for making lattice-top pies. Elastic enough for decorating. Shines nicely with a milk wash and a light dusting of granulated sugar before baking. Use the scraps as Play-Doh.

Jiffy Just-Add-Water Pie Crust Mix
(59 cents per box, makes two crusts)

Time: Six minutes and 19 seconds, plus 15-30 minutes chilling time.

Difficulty Level: Mrs. Claus.

Taste: The best of the three. Flaky, nicely browned rim with solid base. Rich and buttery; doesn’t overpower filling with doughy flavor.

Notes: Requires a little more work, but the results are well worth the time. It doesn’t say so on the box, but time in the refrigerator yields a more workable dough.


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