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In The Family
Why Should You Rest Your Pie After Baking?

The hardest part of baking a pie is waiting for it to cool.

One of the most important steps in a fruit pie happens after you pull the dish from the oven. Before you slice in, it’s critical to let the pie cool down for several hours, both for a clean slice and a safe forkful. We realize this is a low-key form of torture—you’ve already been smelling fresh baked pie for about an hour, and now you can’t even touch the thing—but it’s necessary time for your filling to reach its truest potential.

Fresh from the oven, pie filling is a lava-like mass of fruit chunks adrift in a starchy, sugary syrup. If you slice in right way, that syrup will flood everywhere, leaving you with a collapsed top crust and runny filling you’ll have to spoon up from a bowl. Resting gives the starches in the filling a chance to set into a gel that’ll hold everything neatly in place, which makes for a nice clean slice of pie. This process takes time. Because pie filling is so saturated with sugar, it’s able to reach temperatures well above the boiling point of water, and even with a fan directed at your pie, cool air takes a long time to draw down the temperature of a dense, piping hot, well-insulated mass of pie.

Impatience with your hot pie doesn’t just mean a messy slice—it can easily burn your tongue, a cruel irony that could keep you from enjoying the fruits of your labor altogether.

RECIPE: Aaron’s Tart Dough

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.