Pie crusts can seem like a baker’s nightmare at times, and they can be temperamental, but they are really quite simple to make. These tips will help you to make the perfect pie crust every time!
These tips will help you to easily break down the process of making a pie crust from scratch. They will help you to avoid common mistakes in order to create a perfectly buttery and tender crust.
Say goodbye to tuff pie crusts and soggy pie bottoms!
1. Use Plenty of Fat
A good pie crust needs to have plenty of fat. This helps to create that flaky texture that we all know and love.
You need to make sure that you use plenty of fat, like vegan butter, olive oil, or vegetable shortening. That is the only way to get a truly, perfect pie crust that is flaky and buttery.
2. Use Cold Butter or Oil
In order to keep your crust from becoming tough, you need to use cold fat. This means chilling your butter, oil, or shortening. This way it will be easier to crumble into the flour, creating a perfectly shaggy dough.
This creates that flakiness that we look for in a good pie crust. If the fat is too warm, it will create too firm a dough that will be dense and hard.
3. Use Minimal Water
Moisture is the enemy of a perfect pie crust. This is because once you introduce water, the gluten starts to develop. Too much water, and you will get a compact dough that is not flaky or tender.
This is why many people opt to use vodka in place of water to bring the dough together. But don’t worry, the alcohol bakes out of the crust.
4. Form the Dough Before Rolling
Because we need to chill the dough before rolling, it can often become stiff and start to crack as you roll it out. You can prevent this by warming the outside of the dough with your hands just enough to form it into a smooth ball.
This will help the edges to stay nice and even you roll it out into a circle.
5. Cover the Outside Crust for Most of the Baking Time
Because most pies take 30 minutes to an hour to bake, you need to cover the outside of your crust for the majority of the baking time.
If you don’t do this, that nicely crimped crust will end up burning and becoming very dry and brittle. Cover the outside of the crust until the last 10 to 15 minutes of the baking time. This will create a perfectly golden crust that is still tender.
6. Poke Holes in the Crust
To avoid your perfect pie crust from getting odd-shaped and lumpy with air bubbles when it bakes, take a fork and poke shallow holes into the bottom and sides of your pie crust. This will allow hot air to escape, keeping your crust perfectly flat and where it should be.
7. Limit Handling the Dough
Handling the dough too much not only begins to warm it up and melt the fat. It also encourages the gluten to start forming, which creates a tough crust!
You will want to limit how much you handle the dough to keep it cold and flaky.
8. Use a Food Processor
If you struggle to get the fat broken up just right when making your dough, you can use a food processor. Not only does this make the process easier, but it introduces less heat than your hands would.
A food processor can help to perfectly break up the fat and disperse it through the flour to create a flaky end product.
9. Under Mix the Dough
When it comes to something as delicate as a pie crust, it is better to undermix it than it is to overmix it. It is better to have large chunks of butter in your finished pie crust than it is to have a tough crust.
A perfect pie crust needs to be shaggy and slightly undermixed for it to turn out flaky and tender. As long as the dough can come together enough to be rolled out, it will turn out just fine.
10. Get the Right Thickness
A good pie crust should be about ⅛ an inch thick. Make it too thick, and it will be hard to eat and unpleasant. Make it too thin, and it will be too delicate and break when you try to remove pie slices.
11. Use Scissors to Trim the Crust
To create a perfect pie crust with a beautiful edge, you will want to trim excess dough with scissors. This creates a clean edge that you can create into a beautiful crimped edge.
If you use a knife it won’t cut cleanly and might even tear off too much dough resulting in a lopsided edge.
12. Add Vents to Double Crusted Pies
When using a double crust, always add vents to the top. If you don’t do this, the top crust will end up bursting open or slide right off as the inside of the pie heats up.
The steam will be trapped and will have to break free, resulting in a less pretty pie.
13. Pre-Bake Crust
If your pie doesn’t have to bake any longer than 30 minutes, it is best to pre-bake your crust. This will guarantee that it will be cooked through. All you need to do is heat the oven to the correct temperature for your recipe and cook the pie crust by itself for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then add the filling and cook as the recipe states.
If you don’t pre-cook it, it might turn out soggy and underdone.
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