This May Be Why Your Pie Crust Turned Out Bland

Every great pie is 50% about the filling and 50% about the crust — the latter is especially important. While there are all sorts of pie crusts, from graham cracker to cookie crumb and even pretzel, nothing seems to top a traditional dough one. Stunningly golden, satisfyingly flakey, and oh-so-decadently buttery, a properly baked pie is one of life's greatest pleasures. That said, achieving this triad of color, texture, and taste can be tough. However, when it comes to dull and lackluster crusts, we've got the antidote.

Let it be known that a few issues present themselves earlier in the pie-making process. Since mixing flour and water together produces gluten, The Atlantic explains that too much handling can increase elasticity and lead to a chewy crust, which is why it should be worked minimally. Likewise, the temperature can also make or break a pâte brisée-style crust. According to Land O'Lakes, pieces of fat (butter, lard, bacon drippings, or otherwise) need to be kept cold so they can melt during baking and produce layers of flakiness.

Unfortunately, the list of what could go wrong with a pie doesn't end once pies are slipped into the oven. Shrinking crusts and burnt edges can all be taxing on novice bakers, but even worse still is pie crust that totally lacks pizzazz — read dull, dry, and tasteless.

Salted egg wash for a more aesthetic and appetizing slice

Even the most spectacular fillings can fall short without a tasty pie crust. It's true that crimping, braiding, or patchwork can make a bake look more appealing, but the most important visual cue for pie is a perfectly browned and slightly glossy crust. Often overlooked, there's one element to making these treats look (but also taste) their best.

Whether you're working with homemade or pre-rolled pie crusts, egg wash will always add a wow factor. According to EatingWell, brushing your crust with the whisked egg mixture can create shine and sheen, along with helping the crust turn a golden brown. Although most egg washes don't add much flavor, we like to add a pinch of salt to ours  — it'll add some flavor but also work to accentuate the sweetness of the pie filling.

It's also important to remember that depending on whether you use yolks, whites, or a whole egg, the degree of shine, as well as the color of your pie crust, can vary. According to Insider, egg whites produce the least amount of browning with the ultimate shine, in contrast to egg yolks, which produce the most browning but the least gloss. Unsurprisingly, egg wash made with whole eggs falls somewhere in between, offering just the right amount of browning and luster. Happy baking!