Want a Picture-Perfect Pie? These Two Finishing Touches Make All the Difference

A wash and a final sprinkling of sugar are key to a beautiful, bakery-worthy pie crust.

Pie crust finish wash
Photo: Bryan Gardner

1. Give it a wash

A wash is essential to give pies a burnished crust. You can always use a whole beaten egg mixed with a little water for a medium-gold gloss. Or try one of these alternatives:

Heavy cream leaves a natural, light-golden color with a matte finish.

Egg yolk contains more fat and less water than a whole beaten egg, resulting in a rich, dark color and a dramatic sheen.

Egg white has more water than fat, which provides a pale-golden color and a lustrous glaze.

Bryan Gardner

2. Sprinkle with sugar

After applying a wash, scatter sugar over the top to add sweetness, texture, and shimmer. Different types provide different effects. Here are our favorites:

Sanding is an all-purpose decorating sugar, used for a medium crunch and a sparkling finish.

Turbinado (or raw) is quite coarse and jewel-like; it's for dramatic crunch and a deep, amber shine.

Granulated is the finest, most subtle option and results in a delicate crunch and a clear, gentle gleam.

Watch our Kitchen Conundrums expert Thomas Joseph demonstrate each finish:

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