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How the H do you get the first slice of pie out without wreckng the rest?

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I love to bake, I have a great pie crust recipe, I love rolling out pie dough, crimping edges, making lattice tops. My husband will choose pie over cake or cookies any day, YET, every Thanksgiving, I realize that I only ever make pies ON Thanksgiving.....I finally went to my dark side to ask myself why......I realized last night, as I was getting out the first piece of apple pie, I HATE cutting them. I honestly start to sweat, tiny beads of dread form when I think about all of that tender, loving care that went into my little beauty, it seems at least one, if not two slices get sacrificed in the extraction of that first piece.....Short of buying a special gadget, is there a secret (or even well known) method that I missed in Home-Ec?

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  1. I have read several places that you should actually cut two pieces before removing the first. So, make your first two cuts for the first piece, but before you remove it, make a third cut. I have a few pie books and watched several TV shows (America's Test Kitchen, I think) which have recommended that.

    6 Replies
    1. re: AnnieWilliams

      Yep. Cut two slices before removing the first.

      1. re: MGZ

        I actually always pre-slice the whole thing, even with cheesecakes I do that,not sure why, but I always have. Do you think the secret is to JUST cut 2 slices?

        1. re: kmlmgm

          No, definitely not. Preslicing the whole thing is fine, but even better than cutting two slices is cutting three, then removing the middle one, which allows even more flexibility.

          1. re: greygarious

            Agreed. First, use a super-sharp knife so your cut through the crust(s) is clean. Then, my grandmother taught me to make a diameter slice down the pie. From the center make a slice for a sliver piece about 1/2 " to 1" thick depending on the type of pie -- thinner for something soft/smooth like pumpkin and less thin for something chunky like pecan or apple. Next, make two regular slices, one on each side of the sliver. Then, go back and remove the sliver. Your next two pieces should remove easily and without crumbling, etc.

            Also, I've found that using a regular kitchen knife, which is thin and long, to 'lift' out the sliver piece will work better than a spatula. You can kinda scootch it under the crust of the sliver to extract the small piece.

            I also love the idea below about marketing! That definitely works in my family. Adults ~and children literally fight over who gets the 'dog bone' cookies I make with scraps from my sugar cookie roll-outs. <sigh> They're family and I love them all dearly but sometimes I wonder why ... :)

            1. re: AnneM5

              I just did this a bit ago with two pies, a pumpkin and a cherry. Cut a thin slice and two regular ones as Anne suggested. Worked great!

          2. re: kmlmgm

            I hate when people decide what size slice everyone wants. I want a sliver. My mother even cut her piece of pie in half and re served it because the slices were too huge.

      2. I think you should embrace that imperfect first piece. It's all marketing, baby. Let everyone know that the first piece contains the most flavor, conveys good luck upon its eater, etc. and then watch people fight over it.

        I wish I knew a better solution. I am definitely going to try the 3 cut thing today.

        1. Do you use a pie server? The main problem I have is using a regular spatula to remove the first piece.

          3 Replies
          1. re: PotatoHouse

            I cut a thinner slice first and help myself to it.

            1. re: Puffin3

              ;)

              1. re: magiesmom

                Excellent quality assurance measure.

          2. I use two implements, a very sharp knife to cut, using a draw cut to be sure I got the crust on the bottom cleanly cut, and a thin spatula to life the piece. if it doesn't work, often the case with something gloppy like a peach pie, meh.

            1. Gosh darn. I had no idea this was a problem. Learn something new every day..:-)

              3 Replies
              1. re: miss_belle

                It's never a problem if you are serving alone in the kitchen so that you can eat your mistakes!

                1. re: tim irvine

                  I was going to say -- the first piece is usually set aside for me -- then the "pretty" pieces go to everyone else, and I eat the ugly duckling. (still tastes fine!)

                  I used to have a doohickey that you were supposed to put into the pie pan -- it was wedge-shaped, so you'd cut that free, lift the first perfect slice out, then the rest was easy to serve.

                  And it worked *awesome* -- problem was that I never could remember to put the stupid thing into the pie plate before I put the crust in.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    I have a lot of gadgets like that, too. Usually, though, I remember that I want to use the gadget, I just can't ~find~ it when I need it.

              2. I cut all the pieces at once, and use an offset spatula (narrow one usually used for frosting cakes) to get at least the first piece out.

                1 Reply
                1. re: juliejulez

                  I did that also, my first piece was still a mess. Luckily, my 2 year old LOVES pie like his dad and was happy to take one for team mom.

                2. I heard someone describe how to make a "pull-tab" out of aluminum foil to help get the first piece of pie out. I think it was on "The Splendid Table" a couple of weeks ago.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MsDiPesto

                    That's a great idea! I do that for granola bars and brownies, I'll definitely try that with my next pie.

                  2. Never had this problem.

                    Maybe just serve the entire pie to your husband as "one slice"?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      :->

                    2. I'm in the "cut three slices and serve the middle one first" camp. I don't slice the whole pie, as some people want bigger slurs in my family, some want smaller, and there is usually a choice.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                        Best autocorrect of the day: "some people want bigger slurs" LOL

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Oh dear.... :)