Monday, September 15, 2008


A perfect pie requires a perfect crustPie crusts stand in the way of many bakers and their homemade pies.Making a good one is difficult enough -- the right fat in the right combination, the correct amount of water, not over-mixing -- but having it come out of the oven tender or flaky has its own separate challenges.A soggy crust is an issue with so-called custard pies, those that contain a great deal of liquid (including pumpkin and sweet potato). The liquid soaks into the crust before the pastry has time to set, leaving it colorless, bland and wet.Pre-baking the crust makes the final pie more appealing to some bakers, but has its own issues.If the dough has been handled a lot before it is put into the pie pan, it is likely to slide down the sides of the pan as it bakes, leaving a flat disc in the bottom. Even if the dough is handled carefully, or given time to rest, it will certainly shrink a little during pre-baking.Bakers prevent this shrinking by filling the pie crust with something heavy (lining it with foil, then filling the crust with beans or rice).But that seems like too much trouble to many cooks (including me, occasionally), who try to time their precooking to get enough color and set the dough before the pastry starts to shrink, often with mixed results.

By Sarah FritschnerThe Louisville Courier-JournalWednesday, August 8, 2007

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