Ever since I was a little girl, baking was my thing: cookies, 4-H award–winning muffins, and TONS of tiny cakes cooked by the lightbulb in my Easy-Bake oven. But when it came to pie, I couldn’t get it right. The crust would crack or I’d overwork the dough or the crimping would look really, really sad.
When I was in my early 20s, I learned about a magical dessert called a crostata, which sounds fancy but is just a free-form pie. All you need is one crust, a filling (fruit tossed with sugar and a little flour or cornstarch works best), and a baking sheet. Roll the dough out on some parchment, then put the whole thing on your baking sheet. (This means no stressful dough-to-pie-plate transfer.) Pile the filling in the center, and fold the crust up around the sides. If the dough cracks or the folds aren’t even, it’s no big deal: Crostatas are supposed to look rustic! Bake at 400° until the crust is golden and the filling bubbles, 45 minutes to 1 hour. While the crostata is warm, run a knife under the edge to make sure the juices that overflowed don’t stick the crust to the parchment.
Move the cooled crostata to a wooden cutting board (because: rustic) and delight in the fact that you’re a pie person now.
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