Fruit-filled pies have the reputation of creating a soggy, unattractive crust. Pie dough naturally absorbs liquid, but liquid is necessary for a tender crust. As a result, cooks seek a happy medium. Pre-made frozen pies serve as a solution for some, as they are easy to prepare and the longer cooking time lessens moisture. Individuals who want to make a pie crust from scratch can also successfully avoid the dreaded soggy crust by taking simple precautions.
Use cold ingredients. Do not make your pie crust with room-temperature butter or lard. Chill and sift your flour to prevent a tough crust. Add cold water to dry ingredients gradually.
Mix dough by hand. A perfect pie dough barely adheres together and has small cracks when pinched.
Cook your pie crust using an ungreased glass pan. After placing the bottom crust into the pan, flute the edges or press with a fork. For fruit pies with a double crust, cut small slits in the top crust to vent.
Dust bottom and sides with equal parts sugar and flour. An alternative is to brush a well-beaten egg white or melted butter onto the unbaked crust. Do not glaze the top crust or it will trap moisture.
Refrigerate crust for 15 to 20 minutes. Add fruit filling thickened with cornstarch, flour or the commercial product of your choice.
Bake the pie in the lower third of your oven according to your recipe. For double-crust pies, author Rose Levy Beranbaun recommends baking for an hour at 190 degrees C (87.8 degrees C C) directly on the oven floor, then moving the pie to a higher rack.
Let cool completely before serving.
- If your pie pan has a shiny surface, bake the crust longer.
- Avoid pans with holes.
- Do not use pie dough warmer than 15.6 degrees C (approximately -8.89 degrees C C).
- Do not overwork the dough.
- Recipes vary. Monitor your pie's progress and do not leave it baking unattended.