Friday, August 9, 2013

Tips for Making the Perfect Pie Crust

Making pies is not difficult, nor is making the perfect pie crust. It does require having the right recipe, though. Check out this recipe and other pie information.

When making the perfect pie, some basic pie making knowledge is just as important as the recipe you choose to use. These are some tips I have compiled over a lifetime of baking and from reading the information sections of numerous cookbooks.
  • To prevent custard from shrinking away from the edge, make sure you have the temperature set right and do not bake too long.
  • Cutting cream pies is easier if you dip the knife in warm water before cutting.
  • If cooking more than two pies, make sure there is at least 2 inches between each pie and stagger pies on shelves to ensure that the heat can get to each pie evenly.
  • When rolling out pie pastry, roll between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper. Remove the top sheet, and use the bottom sheet to move the pie crust to the pan. Remember to turn it over and peel away the bottom sheet. This will make it much easier to get your pastry transferred to the dish without tearing.
  • Wet your counter a little before putting waxed or parchment paper on it to roll out dough. This will keep the paper from shifting around.
  • For pies with a soft filling, butter the knife blade before cutting.
  • Coat waxed or parchment paper with a very light coat of olive oil before rolling out pie pastry. This will allow you to roll the crust very thin without tearing the pastry as it stretches.
  • For flakier pie crust, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the pastry dough.
  • To keep juices from bubbling out of fruit pies, insert a tube of macaroni in the center of the top pastry.
  • Brushing pie shells with a light coat of egg white before baking will prevent them from getting soggy while baking.
  • Lard makes a better pie pastry than butter. and has less saturated fat.
  • Never use margarine to make a pie pastry.
  • Chill your pastry dough before rolling it out. It will be much easier to work with and will not tear as easily.
  • Eliminate weeping meringue by turning off the oven when you place the meringue pies inside and let the oven cool completely before removing the pies.
  • Put ice cubes in a class and cover with water. Use this water in your pastry recipe. The colder the water, the better the pastry.

Everyone wants to bake the perfect pie, but baking pies can be a frustrating experience for the new cook. Following the tips for making the perfect pie listed above will help you avoid frustrations and have a perfect pie. The recipe below is my favorite pie crust recipe:

Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter, chilled and chopped into small pieces
3 to 4 tbsp. cold water

Grease 9" pie plate. Sift flour and salt into a mixer bowl. Add butter. Using mixer, mix at slow speed until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Into one cup water, add two to four ice cubes. Water must be very cold.

Add enough ice cold water (no more than 4 tbsp.) one spoonful at a time to make a firm dough. Using hands, scrape all dough from bowl and knead into a ball. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before rolling out. On lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Fold dough in half, then into quarters for easy transfer to the pie plate.

Unfold dough onto the pie plate, pressing dough into bottom of pan. Trim excess dough around pie plate edges, leaving enough to cover edge of pan. Using thumb and fingers, pinch edges into an attractive pattern. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling. Makes 1-9" pie crust.
Double for a double crust or lattice crust recipe. For custard and cream cheese type pies, prick bottom of pie crust in an overall pattern to keep crust from bubbling or shrinking. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.

This buttery crust is delicious enough to eat without filling it!

For more cooking tips, visit Moms Red Kitchen.

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