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Old 10-15-2009, 09:12 PM   #1
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Sharing tricks - pie

I've tried my hand at pie baking a few times in the last several months and I wanted to share some tricks I learned - many people on here probably already know about these...but I thought I'd share anyway! Anyone care to join me?

Fruit pies - absolutely nothing beats fresh fruit. I've never in my life liked fruit pies but I have since learned I LOVE fresh fruit pies.

Cherry is the best but it is a HECK of a lot of work!

For the flaky crust... (and I would love more tipes on this)

I put the pie plate in the fridge when I start. I also put dough in the fridge when I am not handling it. So, it's lots of trips back and forth to the fridge, but worth it.

I learned that an egg wash on the bottom of the crust, before adding filling, keeps the crust crusty and not soggy.

Finally, to keep shape, use the max amount thickener called for the recipe.

Pics attached...I would still like to make this flakier - suggestions?

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Old 10-15-2009, 09:19 PM   #2
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:09 PM   #3
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Very nice!!!

For flaky, nothing beats lard. And learning to use just the right amount of water can be tricky at first. But you keeping things cold is most important, even if it means extra steps.

That's a really good idea about using an egg wash across the bottom crust! Thanks!
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:12 PM   #4
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I only chill my pie dough and tools if the house temperature reaches 75 degrees F. or more. For a double crust pie, I use 3 cups all purpose flour, with 1/2 tsp. salt per cup, and 1 tbs. sugar per cup, if I use sugar in the crust at all. I then add a couple of heaping tbs. of lard, or shortening if I can't get lard. I work this into the dough with a pastry cutter until it is all incorporated. All the time, I'm watch the dough to determine its texture. I know I have added sufficient lard when the dough takes on the texture of small, discreet pebbles. At this stage, don't worry about overworking the dough, as it will not toughen until after water is added. Water is necessary to develop the gluten, or wheat protein. Next, add three tbs. of ice water and stir it into the dough until it's just mixed in. Now that the water is added, you have to be more careful as the more you work the dough, the tougher it becomes.

It is those little, discreet "pebbles" that flatten out and bind loosely together when rolled into a crust that makes the dough flaky. The fat prevents the dough from completely gluing together into a solid mass.

Remove half of the dough and flatten into a thick disk with your hands. Place this on a well floured working surface. Generously sprinkle more flour on top to prevent the rolling pin from sticking. Roll from the center outward in all directions to form a circle that is roughly 2 inches wider than the outer rim of your pie pan. Trim the crust into a smooth edged circle to prevent it from tearing when you fold it. Fold the dough in half, and then in half again to make a triangle. Carefully lift the dough into the pie pan, placing the point in the pan center. Unfold it and gently move it until it fits the pan properly. Do the same with the top crust. Brush the inside of the bottom crust with beaten egg, just as you said, and blind bake in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Fill with your pie filling, top with the second crust, and cut playful vent holes in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush the top with egg-wash and sprinkle coarse sugar, and possibly cinnamon on top. Bake at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes. You will have the flakiest pie crust ever.

Remember, and this is key; The pie crust must resemble little pebbles, like pea gravel before adding any water. And chilling won't hurt anything. If the room temperature is too warm, it definitely makes the dough easier to work with.

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Old 10-15-2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tips! It is always good to learn something new.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:13 AM   #6
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It also keeps your bottom from going soggy of you sprinkle semolina. Just a wee bit, on the base before you fill with fruit. Works especially well if you're not using a thickner. Say, just apples and sugar.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:19 AM   #7
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Jeni, for flaky crust the most important things are to keep your hands (I use a bowl of ice water to make my hands cold) and dough cold, and to not overwork the dough. Just do the bare minimum to make the dough stick together. You should be able to see chunks of lard still to make your pie crust flaky.

I also sprinkle flour in the bottom crust to help absorb liquid in fruit pies. I've heard tapioca is good but have never tried it.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:30 AM   #8
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Ps. Jeni your pies look lovely.

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