Test kitchen professional Ivy Odom shares a secret to cutting picture-perfect icebox pie slices every time.
pumpkin pie slice
Credit: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Creamy chilled icebox pies are a dream to eat but they can be a hassle to slice, especially if they are topped with a tall pile of fluffy whipped cream. Unlike a traditional pie with a warm, cooked filling, it's hard to slice through two cool, soft layers without getting whipped cream or pie filling stuck to the knife.

In this recipe video for Coconut Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, test kitchen professional Ivy Odom shares a test kitchen secret for cutting pretty pie slices. The pie, which was created by reader Barbara Delaney and featured in our November 2013 issue, has a chilled layer of silky pumpkin filling topped with mounds of whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes, so it can be tricky to slice cleanly.

The trick to cutting cold desserts like icebox pies is to always use a hot knife. The warmth of the blade will cut right through the chilled layers for clean, straight edges for the prettiest presentation. When you're ready to slice the pie, fill a tall drinking glass with very hot tap water. Place the entire blade knife in the glass and let the water warm the blade. Remove the blade from the glass and wipe off the water with a clean kitchen towel before slicing into the pie. Repeat the process for each slice of pie, dipping the knife in the glass and wiping off the water, until the entire pie is sliced. This method takes a little extra time, but the results are definitely worth it.

Ivy learned this smart technique in culinary school, from a chef pastry instructor who happens to be Barbara Delaney's daughter—small world!