Fluting is a process of decorating the crust of the top edge of a pie crust before it is baked. This process includes several different techniques that leave the crust of your pie looking just as good as it hopefully tastes. When the pattern is pressed into the pie crust, it is called a fluted edge.
Fluted edges are functional as well as decorative. They anchor the crust on the sides to the crust on the top so that it doesn't shrink down while baking. Finally, no matter the technique you use, remember to secure a few pieces of dough underneath the pie pan lip to hold it while it bakes.
Here are a few fluting techniques:
The Sunshine Crust Edge
This design resembles an illustrated sun with rays of sunshine all around the edge. The dough left hanging around the top edge of the pie pan will need to be folded under so it lays on the lip of the pie pan. Next, gently press the dough in small portions with your thumb and forefinger. You can moisten it with a bit of water if it feels dry, or conversely, put your fingertips in a little flour if it's too moist. Continue this method around the whole circumference of the pie.
The Pressed Rope Edge
When you have finished rolling the dough onto the pie pan, fold the excess under itself on top of the pie pan lip. Pinch the dough around the edges to make it stand up, then press the dough at 45-degree angles with your index fingers. Do this process around the entire circumference of the pie pan. If the dough feels too warm or soft, chill it for a few minutes in your refrigerator - then continue with the technique.
Pro tip: Try to make the top ridges of your design sharp and crisp. You may do this by flouring your fingertips as you pinch the dough.
The Fluted Pinched Edge
This method is the most used of all the processes. Like the others, you will fold the excess dough under itself on the lip of the pie pan. Press the dough onto the lip. Then using your thumb and forefinger, press small bits together to form sharp points and indentations on the lip. Continue around the whole circumference of the pie pan.
According to your tastes, you can make the points sharper or softer.