Life Video

Watch how simply this intricate 3D pie art comes together and we promise you'll think "I totally can do this!"

Pastry pro Arlene Lott’s how-to and tips will have you creating your own custom toppers from now on.

Pastry pro Arlene Lott’s how-to and tips will have you creating your own custom toppers from now on

(CBC Life)

Think you can’t make a pie-topper with cutouts, flowers and... a 3D bird?? We were with you, before this video. We went to pastry pro Arlene Lott get her perfect pie pastry, and to beg her to teach us how to make this gorgeous thing! Doubt all you want, but once you watch, we defy you think anything less than, “woah, I want to do this right now.” This retro, tattoo-inspired apple pie is going to wow your family and friends, but you’re probably going to try it just because it looks hella fun.

Watch Arlene’s detailed instructions here, then get her pie crust recipe below, complete with her secret-till-now tips for perfection.

Easy as pie: Watch how simply this intricate 3-D pie art comes together

6 years ago
Duration 2:32
Pastry pro Arlene Lott’s how-to and tips will have you creating your own custom toppers from now on.

Arlene Lott’s Pie Crust

Vegetable shortening can be used in place of the lard for those who don't eat pork or meat in general. The vodka won’t add any flavour to the crust, but it’s said to prevent gluten from developing, resulting in a more tender crust.


  • 5 ¾ cups flour (divided) plus more for dusting surface
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 6 tbsp cold lard, cut into ½ inch pieces (see note above)
  • 6 tbsp ice cold water (ice water is best)
  • 6 tbsp cold vodka


Cut butter and lard into ½ inch pieces and place in fridge or freezer to keep cold. Combine 2 cups of the flour along with the sugar and salt in your food processor. Using a food processor helps keep the crust flaky.

Add butter and lard cubes to the flour in the food processor and pulse about 6 times for 2-3 seconds until the fats resemble coarse crumbs with some cottage cheese-sized pieces. Then add the rest of your flour and pulse again.

Sprinkle ice cold water and cold vodka over top of the dough. Pulse food processor a few more times until the pastry comes together in a ball. Turn it out onto a table and use hands to bring any loose pieces together and divide it in half. Wrap each separately in plastic wrap, and flatten into two  6" x 1" thick discs. Place them in refrigerator to chill for at least 45 minutes before rolling.

Generously flour your counter and pin, and roll out pastry to 1/8 inch thickness, roll dough around a rolling pin and gently unroll over top of an empty pie plate. Press and form into pie plate. Trim off any excess dough that hangs over the edge of the pie plate and keep the excess dough! You’ll use this for creating your decorations. Fill your pie shell with your desired filling and chill in the fridge while you make the decorations.


Use the excess, rolled out dough to make the decorations below.

“PIE” ribbon:

With a long piece of the reserved excess dough, use a paring knife to cut out a ribbon shape and set aside. Continue using a paring knife to cut out the letters in P I E. Brush cream on the back of each letter and place in the middle of the ribbon. Set aside.


Flour your surface and roll out the 2nd pie dough. Turn a 9.5 inch pie plate upside down and trace over the rolled out dough.

Using a cookie cutter, cut out 1 heart shape and set aside. Using the same heart shape trace around the heart so the shape is ½ inch bigger than the cutter. Save excess dough and set aside.

Place 2-3 tbsp of dulce de leche in the middle of the smaller heart. Using a small pastry brush, brush the edges of heart and place the large heart over top and seal the edges with a fork. With your reserved, excess rolled out dough, cut out some holes with the small end of a pastry tip. Place these around the border of the heart. Brush the heart with cream and sprinkle with white coarse sugar. Transfer to a sheet tray and place in the fridge to chill while you assemble the rest of the decorations.


With the two pointed pieces from the excess dough that you used to make the heart shapes, arrange around the top and bottom border of the pie. Set aside.


Use a bird cookie cutter to make two birds. Use small excess pieces of dough to add an extra shape and dimension to belly, or wings and a beak. With the a toothpick or skewer, score lines for the wing and tail. Add one indent for the eye. Set aside.


Using a 3-inch, round cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles. 4 circles makes 2 roses. Gather 4 circles together and slightly overlap them in a row. Staring at one end, roll together and gently pinch so it stays in place. Cut in the half down the middle. The cut end will be the bottom of the rose. With the top of the rose, gently spread rose petals out with finger tips. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining circles


Use a leaf cookie cutter to cut out 7 leaves. Use a paring knife to add stem details. Set aside.


Place heart in the middle of your filled pie first. Then drape the ribbon across the heart. Place roses, leaves, birds around heart.

To finish the details around the border, use a skewer to poke holes, and the edge of a spoon to create half moon details.

Spray pie with cream for even distribution and chill in fridge for 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Bake pie for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

Servings: Makes enough for a 9.5" deep dish double crust pie with decorations