Time for PIE!!! – 10 Tips for a Perfect Pie Crust
We all love the turkey and the stuffing, but lets be honest our favorite part of thanksgiving is the PIE! I am a pie fiend; it is my favorite dessert of all time. Most people love to eat pie but very few enjoy making it. Pie crusts are a more difficult baking skill to master. For some it’s getting the right thickness, for others it’s how it looks, and for a few it’s the taste. And almost everyone struggles with putting the whole thing together. Pie making is an art and yes, it takes practice, but here are 10 tips for pie crusts that will bring some wow’s to the table.
10 Tips for Pie Crust Perfection
Tip #1: Mix your dry ingredients first- if you can’t sift it, which is ideal for pies, than use a whisk and mix your dry ingredients well before adding your fat and liquids. This will add in the next step.
Tip #2: Ingredients- Pie is not a fat free dessert. Thank goodness! But this is where people often make mistakes. The fat (shortening, butter, or lard) is what creates the flaky texture. If you want to get a flaky crust don’t skimp on the fat. Remember that butter and shortening are not the same and may not be interchangeable in your recipe. If you want to change your fat, use lard. It doesn’t help the waistline, but it does improve the flavor.
Tip #3: Cut in your fat- Pies can’t be “mixed” like a cake or cookie dough. Pie is pie because of how its combined. Cutting in your fat, via two knives or a pastry cutter, creates little balls of fat that will get smooshed into layers when you roll out your crust. As those smooshed fat cells bake they fry (for lack of a better word) the area around them and that’s how your flaky crust comes into being. The goal is to cut your fat in until its about pea sized.
Tip #4: Keep it cold!- Whether you’re adding water or just setting it aside before rolling it out keep that dough cold. Using ice cold water and placing your dough in the fridge after its mixed keep those little fat cells from melting. Melted fat cells = little or no flaky crust!
Tip #5: Mix with care – Once again careful mixing those wet and dry ingredients. You don’t want to smash your fat cells to much. Mix until it holds together, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty to do it. Mix smaller sections at a time and once fairly moistened get your hands in there to mix it.
Tip #6: Mix with a fork or a knife – Trust me its better!
Tip #7: Ease up on the flour – Too much flour while rolling out your dough will make it too dry and it won’t give you the texture you want. Use a pastry cloth if at all possible, or use just enough flour to keep it from sticking to your counter.
Tip #8: Flip it while rolling – Another common pie making mistake is to roll it out in one direction. To get your fat cells to layer and smash properly for that perfect crust flip it and turn it frequently. It also means you can control the amount of flour and keep it for sticking to your counter.
Tip #9: Error on the side of thickness – The thickness of a crust is a personal preference that varies widely. But you can’t please everyone. If you’re not sure whether to go thinner or not stay where you are. A too thin crust is a fried (literally) or burnt crust.
Tip #10: Fold it – Raise your hand if you’re ever lost a crust because you picked it up to put it on it your pie tin and it ripped. RRRRR!!!!! There are too ways to avoid (or reduce the risk): fold it or roll it onto the rolling pin. Then pick up and unfold or unroll.
Hopefully these tips bring you the perfect pie this thanksgiving. I have a passion for pie making and eating so I hope that you find the joy of pie making as well.
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Enjoy this mouth water pie recipe collection for some new inspiration this year.