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Cooking Tips

Why You Might Want to Run Your Fruit Pie Under Water

It’s all about shine, sparkle, and a candy-like crunch.
By Published July 25, 2022

There is no better dessert than a fresh fruit pie. That’s why I’m on a quest to make one using every type of fruit I can get my hands on. (You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the joys of a sweet-tart grape filling betwixt a buttery top and bottom crust.) As I bake my way through an assortment of berries, cherries, stone fruits, and more, I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks that will take my creations to the next level. So when my colleague and baking guru Andrea Geary mentioned that she was going to try an outlandish technique for her Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, I was all ears.  

She wanted to run the top crust under water before baking the pie.

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Make the Crust Shine and Sparkle

Once I understood how the technique worked, I realized that sticking a pie under the tap makes a whole lot of sense: Applying water to the pastry thoroughly moistens it so it can hold onto a generous sprinkling of sugar, which transforms during baking into a candy-like layer with brilliant sheen, crackly crunch, and notable sweetness. The lustrous browning that the water-sugar combination produces is really impressive, too. 

Ultimately, Andrea opted for a safer (albeit less dramatic) method for the same result: She used a pastry brush to paint the pastry with water. With this approach, the crust was able to grip a full 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Formula for a Crackly, Sugary Coating

For a 9-inch pie, brush the top crust with about 2 tablespoons of water and sprinkle it evenly with 3 tablespoons of sugar. I’ve found that the sweet topping pairs particularly well with tart fruit fillings such as rhubarb, apricot, plum, and sour cherry–but I’m sure I’ll be adding to that list in the near future.

Favorite Fruit Pies

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.