Sprinkle Your Pie Crust With Turbinado Sugar For An Extra Shine

At its heart, baking is a science that already requires some level of chemistry. But there's also a level of artistry needed to craft the perfect baked good, such as a perfectly browned, shiny pie crust. One of the secrets of the trade is using turbinado sugar; just give the top of your pie crust an egg or milk wash and then sprinkle on the turbinado. This allows the sugar to stick evenly and provides an additional shine.

While all sugar can provide pie crusts with some amount of shine and sparkle, the benefit of using the turbinado variety comes from its unique, unrefined character. It's usually created from sugarcane juice processed just one single time, meaning some molasses remains in the crystals. This is what provides the brownish color and more complex flavor, as well as its larger crystals. These crystals don't melt in the oven's heat, meaning they'll retain their shape and sparkle even after baking, which typical granulated sugar won't.

With decorating baked goods, details matter

While there are countless types of egg, dairy, and non-dairy washes to use when adhering turbinado sugar to your crust, the kind of wash you choose for your pie matters. Those looking to maximize shine should opt for a lightly beaten, frothy mix of just egg whites. This provides all the glossiness of a typical egg wash without the yolks' yellow coloration.

It's easy to keep a small amount of turbinado sugar in the pantry for baking needs, but if necessary, you can also use demerara as a turbinado sugar substitute, as it's a similarly large crystal, molasses-infused sugar. Light brown sugar also usually works for this task, but not in this case. That's because bakers decorating their crusts care more about crystal size — and how those crystals will survive the oven — than molasses content, which is where turbinado and light brown sugar are the most comparable. Try this sugar technique for your next pie, and you may be surprised by its eye-catching effects.