If you can think of it, you can most likely make it into a pie. Pies come in numerous flavors, textures, and sizes. Knowing, and understanding, the type of pie you are making will help you to be successful. Since the certain types of pies are generally cooked in the same way, knowing the pie type will also help you know where you might run into problems and how to fix them.
Quiche is an egg-based custard filling baked in an unbaked, or par-baked, pastry crust. It can be filled with a variety of meats, vegetables, and cheeses. Quiche is popular for breakfast, brunch, and even dinner, and can be made to suit any theme.
Potpies are pastry-encased savory pies with creamy sauces. Most potpies are filled with a kind of meat, typically chicken, turkey, or beef, along with diced vegetables or rice. Potpies are an economical way to feed a crowd and a good way to use up leftover meat and vegetables.
Fruit pies can be filled with raw, preserved, or cooked fruit. These pies can be topped with a full crust, a lattice, or a crumb topping, or left open-faced. Fresh seasonal fruit makes delicious pies; however, pies are a good place to use preserved or frozen fruit.
Cream pies are pies with a pudding or pastry cream filling that is cooked before being poured into a fully baked crust. Most of the fillings used in cream pies are starch thickened, with either cornstarch or flour. Meringues and whipped cream are traditional toppings for cream pies.
Custard pies are pies with an uncooked custard filling placed in an uncooked or partially cooked crust and then baked. As the pie bakes, the filling cooks until it sets and the crust bakes. Examples of custard pies include pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and chess pie. Beware of overcooking custard pies. Overcooking can cause them to become watery or grainy.
Chiffon pies have a light, fluffy texture thanks to whipped egg whites, and sometimes whipped cream, that are folded into a flavorful base. Gelatin is typically used to help these pies set and retain their cloudlike texture. Chiffon pies may contain raw egg whites, which can be dangerous for people with certain health issues. If raw egg whites are a concern, use pasteurized egg whites.
Hand pies, or pocket pies, are simply large pies that have been scaled down to a more portable size. They can be either sweet or savory and can be either baked or deep-fried.