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Want a Picture-Perfect Pie? 2 Finishing Touches That 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
Photography by: 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.

Photography by: 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: