Elevate Store-Bought Pie Crust With A Simple 3-Ingredient Wash

Sometimes, it's much easier to use a store-bought crust to pull off a homemade pie (or a partially homemade one, at least). Not only does a pre-made crust skirt any potential mishaps but it also gives you more time to concoct a flavorful pie filling. There are easy ways to improve store-bought pie crust with minimal effort, and chef Jason Smith, a winner of Food Network's "Holiday Baking Championship" and "Next Food Network Star" who also recently competed on Amazon Freevee's "The Goat," has another easy trick he shared with Allrecipes in 2023. Smith said, "I mix ¼ cup of melted butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and ½ tablespoon of bourbon together and brush the inside edges and bottom of the crust. ... If I'm doing a two-crust pie, the crust I use on top also gets brushed."

Smith combines these three simple ingredients to make a flavorful wash to brush onto the crust to add more flavor — no eggs required. The wash will also help the crust obtain the golden-brown finish that you expect from a homemade pie. There are many reasons why it's essential to pick the proper wash for your pie crust but this three-ingredient wash should work on a range of pies, especially whenever a store-bought crust is used but needs an upgrade.

Brush the edges, bottom, and top of store-bought crust with a wash for next-level pies

We certainly trust chef Jason Smith given his many accolades, but we also have a few ideas to switch up the wash. If you're making a cinnamon-forward pie, like an apple pie, add a dash of cinnamon to complement the flavors. Meanwhile, a sprinkle of granulated sugar will add a subtle crunch and sweetness to the pie. Alternatively, use rum instead of bourbon since it's one of the best substitutes for the booze in cooking. And don't worry, much of the alcohol content will cook out while it's in the oven.

Tasting Table has a couple of recipe recommendations that we think could benefit from this elevated wash. Add it to this strawberry basil pie recipe and skip the steps that involve making the crust. The wash would also complement these bourbon pecan pie bars. And if you're a stickler for pies truly made from scratch, try Tasting Table's flaky pie crust recipe and add the three-ingredient wash.