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

kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 04:52 AM

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. AnnieWilliams RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 04:54 AM

    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
      MGZ RE: AnnieWilliams Nov 22, 2012 04:58 AM

      Yep. Cut two slices before removing the first.

      1. re: MGZ
        kmlmgm RE: MGZ Nov 22, 2012 05:30 AM

        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
          greygarious RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 07:40 AM

          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
            AnneM5 RE: greygarious Nov 22, 2012 08:18 AM

            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
              karykat RE: AnneM5 Nov 22, 2012 06:24 PM

              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
            melpy RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 07:05 PM

            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. tcamp RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 06:09 AM

        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. PotatoHouse RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 06:25 AM

          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
            Puffin3 RE: PotatoHouse Nov 22, 2012 06:47 AM

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

            1. re: Puffin3
              magiesmom RE: Puffin3 Nov 22, 2012 07:03 AM


              1. re: magiesmom
                tcamp RE: magiesmom Nov 22, 2012 07:08 AM

                Excellent quality assurance measure.

          2. tim irvine RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 07:32 AM

            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. m
              miss_belle RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 06:48 PM

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

              3 Replies
              1. re: miss_belle
                tim irvine RE: miss_belle Nov 22, 2012 07:11 PM

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

                1. re: tim irvine
                  sunshine842 RE: tim irvine Nov 22, 2012 10:48 PM

                  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
                    AnneM5 RE: sunshine842 Nov 23, 2012 07:29 AM

                    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. juliejulez RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 07:07 PM

                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
                  kmlmgm RE: juliejulez Nov 23, 2012 04:48 AM

                  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. MsDiPesto RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 07:10 PM

                  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
                    kmlmgm RE: MsDiPesto Nov 23, 2012 04:42 AM

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

                  2. ipsedixit RE: kmlmgm Nov 22, 2012 09:31 PM

                    Never had this problem.

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

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      eclecticsynergy RE: ipsedixit Nov 24, 2012 09:57 AM


                    2. c
                      CanadaGirl RE: kmlmgm Nov 24, 2012 09:58 AM

                      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
                        sunshine842 RE: CanadaGirl Nov 25, 2012 02:36 AM

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

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          CanadaGirl RE: sunshine842 Nov 25, 2012 07:06 AM

                          Oh dear.... :)

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