Admit it. When you bake a pie from scratch, one of the most satisfying payoffs is the slew of compliments from guests as you present the gorgeous pie. But after you've made a few, how do you keep things fresh? The answer's easy: Make some seriously impressive designs on the top. You don't have to be an artist -- you just have to have a little creativity (and a sharp knife, or maybe even a cookie cutter).
Lattice pies seem to be the status quo during the summer months, but we've got ideas that go beyond that. Think of patriotic stars, piles of florets or even messages imprinted into your dough. (And the messages don't have to stop at "Happy Birthday" -- we're thinking it'd be genius to imprint "Back Off" to warn greedy roommates.)
If you're looking for some great ideas for decorating pies this summer, look no further. We've gathered all our favorite decorated pies from across the web to show you all the possibilities you can create.
Shingled Crust Pie
You don't even need a cookie cutter to create this unique <a href="http://whatkatieate.blogspot.com/2011/03/preserved-lemon-rosemary-garlic-roast.html#links" target="_hplink">shingled apple pie</a> from Licking the Plate. It's covered with diamond cut-outs layered over the top of the fruit. Use a ruler and cutting wheel or sharp knife to create diamond or square shapes.
Fluted Cookie Cut-Out Pie
A round, fluted cookie cutter is an easy way to decorate a summer pie, like this <a href="http://www.familyfeedbag.com/2011/08/blackberry-pie.html" target="_hplink">blackberry pie recipe</a> from Family Feedbag. There's not fuss because there's not lattice.
Deep-Dish lattice Pie
This unique <a href="http://www.dessertsforbreakfast.com/2011/05/blueberry-rhubarb-deep-dish-pie.html" target="_hplink">blueberry-rhubarb deep dish pie recipe</a> from Desserts for Breakfast isn't even made in a pie plate -- it's made in a springform pan. It's topped with a pretty scalloped lattice.
Maple Leaf Topped Pie
A large maple leaf cutter is used to create the top crust for this <a href="http://www.ericasweettooth.com/2011/09/caramel-apple-pie.html" target="_hplink">caramel apple pie</a> from Sweet Tooth. The large leaves overlap and leave a few vent holes to give you a peak at what's inside.
Heart Cut-Out Pie
This <a href="http://www.cupofsugarpinchofsalt.com/2012/05/09/pear-cranberry-heart-pie/" target="_hplink">pear-cranberry pie recipe</a> uses a mini heart cutter to create pretty vent holes. The cut-out pieces of dough are then used to decorate the crust.
Leaf Punch Pie
This <a href="http://thestoryofkat.blogspot.com/2011/09/leaf-pie-q.html" target="_hplink">pie recipe</a> from The Story of Kat is decorated with little leaves that are made by using a punch.
Letter Press Pie
Decorating pies doesn't mean you're required to cut out different shapes of dough to create a lattice top. This <a href="a href="http://www.brytontaylor.com/gluten_free/2012/05/snow-white-once-upon-a-time-apple-tart.html" target="_hplink"http://pinterest.com/pin/45106433738387124//a" target="_hplink">magical pie</a> is topped with a standard sheet of dough that has had letters pressed into it to convey a unique message.
Mini Lattice Pies
These <a href="http://www.adventuressheart.com/2011/08/mini-cherry-pies.html" target="_hplink">mini cherry pies</a> from Adventuress Heart are easy to make because you use a cupcake pan. They include a thin lattice top that lets a bit of the pink cherry juice show.
Don't ve held back by the kind of cookie cutter you can use when it coems to decorating a pie. And if you can't find the shape you like, use a sharp knife to cut it out, like this strawberry rhubarb pie with a lettered message. Photo from <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pippijewelry/5793811173/in/set-72157626171987878" target="_hplink">pippijewelry, Flickr</a>.
Extra-Wide lattice Pie
Sometimes working with very thin lattice can be pretty difficult. Try instead extra-wide lattice, which creates a very rustic and homey-looking pie. This <a href="http://whatkatieate.blogspot.com/2011/03/preserved-lemon-rosemary-garlic-roast.html" target="_hplink">apple, ginger and blueberry pie</a> from What Katie Ate is made in a springform pie to fit in all that fruit.
Winding Vines Pie
This <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Triple-Berry-Pie-Its-diVine/" target="_hplink">triple-berry pie</a> is beautifully decorated with a garden design made entirely out of dough. Some handy cutting and flower- and leaf-shaped cookie cutters are that you need to achieve the look.
Star Cut-Out Pie
This <a href="http://butterflyfoodie.blogspot.com/2011/07/all-about-pie.html" target="_hplink">apple pie</a> from Butterfly Foodie is decorated with an array of cut-out stars. Simply use a cookie cutter to make this simple decoration.
WATCH: How To Make A Lattice Top Pie Crust
We thought lattice pie crusts required engineering or geometry skills, but it turns out all you really need is a ruler and nerves of steel 'til you get hang of it. Lauren Chattman from Pillsbury shows us the secret of how to make a gorgeous lattice top pie crust.