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jende

Pie Crust: Tips & Troubleshooting

56 posts in this topic

Hmm, regular glass or ceramic probably would crack, but I've had no problems with putting pyrex directly on a hot stone, and there wouldn't be a problem with metal, either. But for something that could crack, it would be safer to let it heat up on a rack and then move it down to a stone.

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Oh. I always parbake. I didn't know that you weren't supposed to parbake the bottom crust for double crust pies. I just thought what worked for single crust would work for double crust too.

The main problem would be attaching the top crust to the bottom crust securely enough to prevent major leakage. Usually you would fold the top crust under the bottom crust and flute. Which you cannot do if it is prebaked.

As far as pizza stones go, I find that even after preheating the stone for an hour that is still blocks the heat. My crusts do not brown as well or as quickly as when they are just on a rack.


-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Oh. I always parbake. I didn't know that you weren't supposed to parbake the bottom crust for double crust pies. I just thought what worked for single crust would work for double crust too.

The main problem would be attaching the top crust to the bottom crust securely enough to prevent major leakage. Usually you would fold the top crust under the bottom crust and flute. Which you cannot do if it is prebaked.

As far as pizza stones go, I find that even after preheating the stone for an hour that is still blocks the heat. My crusts do not brown as well or as quickly as when they are just on a rack.

Hmm... Leakage? It's not happened to me either.

I've never had issues with prebaking and then pouring in the filling and pressing the crust to seal on the edges.

That said, my pies aren't very pretty.


May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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I really don't have a problem with fruit pies or double crust pies but I do use pie shields to keep the edges from browning too much. After I have transferred the dough to the pan I press the dough in the bottom of the pan so it is actually thinner than the sides.

However, when I prepare custard pies or pumpkin custard pies, I sprinkle granulated sugar on the bottom of the pie dough (I dock it before I transfer it to the pie plate as I have a roller-type docker) and then I carmelize it with a torch.

When I first learned to bake pies, almost sixty years ago, this was how I learned, only the sugar was carmelized with a hand-held salamander - the kind that was stuck right in the stove to heat until it was glowing (wood/coal range), later it was heated over a gas burner but the principle is the same.

The burnt sugar forms a hard shell that keeps the liquid custard from soaking into the dough.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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As far as pizza stones go, I find that even after preheating the stone for an hour that is still blocks the heat. My crusts do not brown as well or as quickly as when they are just on a rack.

Interesting. I've wondered about this. Have you tried preheating the oven with the stone to a much higher temp (500 or so) and then letting the air temp drop down to regular baking temp before putting the pie in?

Stones are an interesting variable because the retain a ton of heat (high thermal mass) but don't transfer the heat to the food as quickly as metal (low conductivity) and they they also block the convection that you'd get with food sitting on a rack. I think the biggest help for a pie crust would be a stone that's hotter than the ambient temperature of the oven.

By the way, the slow conductivity makes it highly unlikely that you'd break any kind of glass or ceramic bakeware by setting it on a hot stone. It won't cause a drastic temperature change like putting it under a broiler or quenching it in water.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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Yes, that is the way I have tried it. I preheat it at about 500-550 degrees for an hour, that let the temp. drop back a little. It just never seems to work as well with it as without.

andiesenji, I love the caramelized sugar idea! Cook's Illustrated has a tomato tart that melts parm reg on the puff pastry first to seal it. Your way reminds me of that. It sounds delicious too.


-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Just a public service announcement: blueberries are in season. I made a blueberry pie for a Fourth of July picnic yesterday. We actually fought over who was going to get what of the leftovers.

Hee hee.

I gave it a lattice top and it leaked, oddly, clear syrup. I always put my pies on a jelly roll pan lined with foil. I baked it on the bottom rack, nearest the bottom of the oven. I protect the edge from browning too much with a handmade foil shield -- I found the ones they sell are too heavy and flatten the edge of the pie.

In the end, I had to uncover it and brown it a little more before it was fully finished.


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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By the way, the slow conductivity makes it highly unlikely that you'd break any kind of glass or ceramic bakeware by setting it on a hot stone. It won't cause a drastic temperature change like putting it under a broiler or quenching it in water.

I've had ceramic crack by placing it directly on a heated pizza stone. I don't worry about my Le Creuset baking dishes cracking, but I don't put anything I'm not sure about on there and definitely not anything handmade.

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Sorry you have had so much trouble with your pie crust. I use this basic recipe for pies and tarts and it never fails me. You may want to try it.

For pies I usually use a plain glass Pyrex pie dish. Sometimes I'll use my LeCreuset pie dish. If I am doing a 'free-form' type of tart I use a wooden pizza peel to move the tart from the kitchen directly onto a baking stone in the oven.

I never use any type of metal pie tin because it gets too hot too fast, resulting in a crust that bakes too quick while the insides of the pie are underdone.

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cake flour

1 tbsp. superfine granulated sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled

½ cup Crisco shortening, chilled

1/3 cup ice water

The cake flour gives the pie dough an extra lift and flakiness.

I cut the butter and shortening in by hand using a pastry cutter. I never use a food processor for my pastry dough. The blade runs too fast, cutting the butter and shortening into little grains. When I cut the butter and shortening into the flour by hand I control the size of the butter and shortening. I cut it into the flour until it's the size of baby peas. That will let your butter and shortening melt into shards or layers as it bakes into the flour. That's what will give the finished pie crust that flakiness we like.

Add the ice water using a fork and add enough water to form a ball of dough. Wrap it in plastic and then let it chill in the refrigerator for about one hour. This will chill the butter back up which is important to the finished pie crust.

Then just roll out the dough before you use it. Works for me so I hope it helps you.

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My daughter brought home the most delicious local red apples this week, and wants to bake an apple pie tonight. Her first on her own pie, so exciting for me! We have vegetable shortening in the house, so I told her to make a quick shortening crust, then she asked me how to make a crust, how to make the filling, and finally informed me that the 7 cook books I've got at home unpacked do not have any pie recipes. I'm coming to my fellow eGulleteers- your go-to shortening based crust apple pie recipes. pretty please?


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Sadly Rebecca - my go to pie crust recipe is for a lard crust - and I know that wouldn't be appropriate for you. I highly recommend adding some vodka to the liquid when you do find an appropriate recipe - the added liquid makes the crust much easier to roll - and disappears when baked.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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She's making the "plain pie dough" recipe from The Settlement Cook Book*, minus the baking powder. this is the only "regular" cook book I've got out of storage right now.

As it is her first pie(at the age of 24! :shock: ) I think this classic recipe is actually a good start.

*1944 edition


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What kind of shortening do you have? The recipe on the back of the Crisco can makes a darn good crust.

For the filling .. I don't follow a recipe, just peel and slice a pile of apples and toss with LOTS of cinnamon, sugar, some flour, lemon juice, splash of vanilla and cubed butter if it's dairy -- leave it out for parve.


Edited by Pam R forgot the vanilla! (log)
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I was taught 1/3 C shortening for every 1 C cake flour (cut in until short), then ice water by tablespoons just until it forms a semicoherent dough, never ever over handling. Great Gran had a steel rolling pin that could be filled with ice cubes, which she used specifically for pie crust.

For the filling, I'm like Pam R - apples with cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla or amaretto, and about 1 tsp of manioc or corn starch. If I'm baking kosher, I leave the butter out; if I'm baking parve, I put a bit in.

Alternately, if you want a more store-bought type filling, you can stew sliced apples with a little apple juice, cinnamon, and allspice, then thicken the resulting broth with corn starch to get the gooey-oozey filling you're after.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Pana Can, the teknical term for that consistency is "goozey". I know, I invented it!

You can also add some finely shredded cheese like Muenster to further goozify and flavour the filling, if you like the idea... %)


Edited by judiu (log)

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A coconut cream pie has been requested by my brother for his birthday. I am pie-crust challenged. The CI crust using vodka is the only one I know I can make successfully. Do you think I can sub coconut rum for the vodka? Also, I looked at the Sweetie-licious crust recipe made with graham crackers and coconut and am tempted to try that. Any comments on that? Thanks in advance.

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For the CI crust, if the the booze contains at least as much ABV, and there are no flavours there that you'd just as soon not have in your pie (e.g. garlic schnapps), use whatever spirit you have on hand. I've used gin, tequila, whisky, you name it.


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I use coconut rum in the pie filling but not the crust. I garnish the top of the pie with whipped cream also flavored with coconut rum and then some toasted sweetened coconut.  My basic pie crust is very easy, but you should make it by hand.  I've found that using a food processor to make pie crust cuts the butter and flour too fine resulting in a crust that falls apart when baked.   

 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup salted butter

1/2 cup Crisco

Ice water

 

Blend the dry ingredients then cut in the butter and Crisco by hand with a pastry cutter.  Slowly add ice water, blending into the dough with a fork.  Add enough ice water so the dough forms a soft ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Bring the dough to room temperature before you roll it out for your pie crust.

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I don't care much for graham crackers paired with coconut.

 

For similar 9 to 10 inch pies I make a crust with vanilla wafers and coconut (unsweetened) and a little sugar plus the butter needed for it to hold together.

 

Crush enough vanilla wafers roughly to make 1 1/4 cups - add 1/3 cup flaked coconut  1/4 cup granulated (use less if you are using superfine)

put in blender or food processor, pulse till small crumbs and completely blended

add  5 tablespoons of butter, cut into thin pats.

pulse just till butter is completely blended.

 

dump into pie plate and using something flat press down to even the bottom and then work it up the sides to the top edge - I use a measuring cup.

 

Bake in a 375° oven for  5-6 minutes.

 

Cool completely before adding the filling.  Works for all cream pies - for banana cream you can use dried banana flakes instead of the coconut. 

 

The same ratio can be used for chocolate wafers  for a crust for  chocolate pies, Boston cream, etc.

 

When I know I will be doing several pies over a period of a few weeks, I make this stuff up in "bulk" and store it in the freezer so it is ready to use.

 

I only bake in 9 and 10 inch glass or ceramic pie plates - I've found the thin metal ones cause a bit of scorching on the bottoms of the crust.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Agree that a crumb crust is nice w/coconut cream.  Find some coconut wafer cookies/sables/sandies and use those.  No need to stress over a pie crust when a crumb crust will do.  Murray makes a scalloped, round coconut cookie (the kind with a hole in the middle) that would make a nice coconut crust.  Or make your own coconut sables and crumble them up.

 

Or make a press-in-the-pan tart crust, which is way easier than rolled-out pie crust.

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I don't care much for graham crackers paired with coconut.

For similar 9 to 10 inch pies I make a crust with vanilla wafers and coconut (unsweetened) and a little sugar plus the butter needed for it to hold together.

Crush enough vanilla wafers roughly to make 1 1/4 cups - add 1/3 cup flaked coconut 1/4 cup granulated (use less if you are using superfine)

put in blender or food processor, pulse till small crumbs and completely blended

add 5 tablespoons of butter, cut into thin pats.

pulse just till butter is completely blended.

dump into pie plate and using something flat press down to even the bottom and then work it up the sides to the top edge - I use a measuring cup.

Bake in a 375° oven for 5-6 minutes.

Cool completely before adding the filling. Works for all cream pies - for banana cream you can use dried banana flakes instead of the coconut.

The same ratio can be used for chocolate wafers for a crust for chocolate pies, Boston cream, etc.

When I know I will be doing several pies over a period of a few weeks, I make this stuff up in "bulk" and store it in the freezer so it is ready to use.

I only bake in 9 and 10 inch glass or ceramic pie plates - I've found the thin metal ones cause a bit of scorching on the bottoms of the crust.

This is great- I am making a key lime pie tomorrow and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of a graham cracker crust. I'm trying out the nilla wafer crust- thanks for the idea!


Edited by patti_h (log)

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Thanks to those who replied.

 

I'm putting vanilla wafers on the shopping list!

 

Andiensenji, I only have sweetened coconut on hand and no time to go the "big city" before I bake. Will cutting the sugar down to 2TB work? Also, the sweetened coconut tends to be rather moist so I may decrease the butter a bit as well, unless you think that is a bad idea. Have you by chance ever weighed 1 1/4 cups of roughly crushed vanilla wafers? I'm probably over thinking this, typical of me when I'm baking sweets. I'm much braver with bread and savory. 

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Thanks to those who replied.

 

I'm putting vanilla wafers on the shopping list!

 

Andiensenji, I only have sweetened coconut on hand and no time to go the "big city" before I bake. Will cutting the sugar down to 2TB work? Also, the sweetened coconut tends to be rather moist so I may decrease the butter a bit as well, unless you think that is a bad idea. Have you by chance ever weighed 1 1/4 cups of roughly crushed vanilla wafers? I'm probably over thinking this, typical of me when I'm baking sweets. I'm much braver with bread and savory. 

Because of the sugar in the coconut, it might get a bit burnt - not such a bad thing if it doesn't go too far.  So perhaps reducing the temp by 25 degrees and WATCHING it while baking would be best. 

 

I haven't weighed the cookies.  I generally toss a bunch in a ziplock bag and bang them into small chunks and then just use dip some out with a measuring cup.  I don't eat the cookies, I only use them in baking or sprinkled on top of desserts that look a bit "plain" or need a touch of texture.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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I recommend using Trader Joe's brand graham crackers for a graham cracker crust.  Read the label, all natural ingredients, which is not what you get with Honey Maid or Keebler.  They taste better.

 

I would think the same holds for vanilla wafers.

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I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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