Pie Lattice Tools

Published March 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.

Do you really need a fancy gadget to do something you can accomplish with a simple ruler and a pizza wheel?

Overview:

The time and finesse required to cut and weave strips of fragile dough scare off many people from attempting a lattice pie crust. Bakeware companies have stepped in with a variety of tools to help. We tried out four such gadgets, using them to shape the top crusts on peach pies. For comparison, we also used our tried-and-true method of measuring strips with a ruler and then cutting them out with a pizza wheel. Most of the specialty tools were flops: Dough got stuck around the wheels of a small roller-style device, ruining the pattern. One stamp-style cutter gave us a crude-looking lattice. Another had a delicate pattern but the blades didn’t cut all the way through the dough. The priciest, a multiwheel cutter from Paderno World Cuisine ($125) that can be adjusted to different widths, glided effortlessly over the rolled-out dough, cutting perfect strips that we then wove into a lattice. However, our ruler-and-pizza-wheel method works just as well, minus the hefty price.

The time and finesse required to cut and weave strips of fragile dough scare off many people from attempting a lattice pie crust. Bakeware companies have stepped in with a variety of tools to help. We tried out four such gadgets, using them to shape the top crusts on peach pies. For comparison, we also used our tried-and-true method of measuring strips with a ruler and then cutting them out with a pizza wheel. Most of the specialty tools were flops: Dough got stuck around the wheels of a small roller-style device, ruining the pattern. One stamp-style cutter gave us a crude-looking lattice. Another had a delicate pattern but the blades didn’t cut all the way through the dough. The priciest, a multiwheel cutter from Paderno World Cuisine ($125) that can be adjusted to different widths, glided effortlessly over the rolled-out dough, cutting perfect strips that we then wove into a lattice. However, our ruler-and-pizza-wheel method works just as well, minus the hefty price.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Paderno World Cuisine 9 1/2-Inch Stainless Steel Plain Multi-Wheel Dough Cutter

    While it looks scary, this roller was actually easy and intuitive to use and has a heft that made it comfortable to handle. Five small pizza wheels are attached to an expandable rack; you can adjust the width of your dough strips from 1/3 inch up to 5 inches. But you still have to weave the strips on the pie by hand. In a bakery that churns out a high volume of lattice-top pies, this device could be a timesaver; for us, the price tag is a deal breaker.

    • Cleanup ★★★
    • Usability ★★★
    • Lattice Appearance ★★★

    $125.10

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Fox Run Pie Top Cutter

    This rudimentary cutter is designed as a simple stamp, like a cookie cutter. But pie dough clung to the cutter and required extra work to remove. The dough lattice stayed together well during transfer and baking, but its modular design had a mass-produced look that left us pining for a more rustic appearance on our homemade peach pie.

    • Cleanup
    • Usability
    • Lattice Appearance

    $3.00

  • Not Recommended

    Ateco Lattice Dough Cutter

    This plastic roller-style cutter was a big disappointment. Boasting 16 blades, it’s designed to roll over dough, cutting out dotted lines that you must (gently) pull apart to create a pattern of lattice openings. But we hit a roadblock: Dough got stuck from the first turn of the wheel, clogging the roller. After extensive wrangling, we finished rolling, but the latticework proved hard to stretch evenly over the filling. Worst of all, its look turned us off, earning comparisons to the netted bags that hold onions.

    • Cleanup
    • Usability
    • Lattice Appearance

    $5.99

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