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How to Get a Crisp Brown Bottom Pie Crust

Nov 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose

RONI QUESTION

I love to bake and have done so successfully for many years. The one thing I can't seem to do is to get a bottom pie crust to brown. I have used a Pyrex pie pan, a Pampered Chef ceramic pan, a French ceramic pan and a shiny metal pan. I have tried a number of pie crust recipes, too! Please help..Thanksgiving is coming, and I always make an apple pie. Thanks

ROSE REPLY

i feel strongly that if a bottom pie crust is soggy there is no point in having more than a top crust on the pie! i addressed this in my book "the pastry bible" where i give the technique for juicy pies of letting the fruit sit with the sugar to leach out the juices and then reduce them and return them to the fruit. this way you only need to use about one-third of the thickening agent which results in a more pure fruit taste and you won't be left with a pool of fruit juices on the bottom of a soggy crust after baking the pie.

but this alone will not brown the crust. to achieve this, i bake the pie directly on the floor of the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking and then raise it to the bottom shelf. different ovens bake differently so you may need to leave it on the floor of the oven for a longer time. the best way to find out is to use a pyrex plate the first time you do this so you can see through it and gauge when sufficient browning has taken place. if your oven is electric and has coils on the bottom, the best alternative is to use a baking stone on the lowest shelf and preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes to ensure that it is heated fully.

i have recently designed and produced a special pie plate that is ceramic with deeply fluted sides to create a beautiful border effortlessly. it also does a great job of even browning of the bottom crust. it also has my favorite pie crust recipe decaled permanently into the bottom inside of the plate.
you can view it on www.laprimashops.com

Comments

I make a soft dough 5 cups flour to 1lb butchers lard. It is a soft lard rendered on site. I add 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 egg and add very cold water to make 1 cup. The top crust is great! However the bottom crust is wet. Do you think baking on the bottom rack will solve this? Or should there be more flour in the dough to make it drier?

REPLY

Steve, you may be pulling your dough too tight when you place it in the pan. You need to gently ease the rolled dough into place, being careful not to stretch the dough, as Woody noted. Stretching the dough is the most common cause of the sort of cracking you describe. When I place the bottom crust I start from the center rather than the edges.

Lay the crust (folded in half) into the center of the pan with the edges hanging over one side of the pie plate. Then take the folded portion and gently ease it into the plate starting from the fold in the center. Don't try to lay the dough over the edge of the pie plate, let it sort of relax into the bottom with a little encouragement from you. Then lift the other side of the dough and gently lift it back to the center, laying it back down gently the same way. You want it to sort of fall naturally up against all the surfaces - if you press it into the corners, you will stretch the dough and end up with tears and cracking as you describe.

REPLY

Linda, you CAN get a crispy bottom crust on a chicken pot pie, or at least crispy enough.

If you need to stick with the metal pie pan, use the same method for browning the bottom crust on a fruit pie, which is to place the pie pan on a preheated baking stone. (If doing this with a Pyrex plate, let the plate come up to temp on the upper rack before moving to the hot pizza stone to avoid potential for thermal shock). The problem is that you will not be able to monitor the crust in a metal pan.

Also, warm the filling before filling the pie - not too hot or it will tend to melt the fat in the crust, but not directly out of the fridge, either. I know a lot of recipes call for pouring hot filling into the crust but I NEVER do this and my crusts are the better for it! On the other end, using a warm rather than a chilled filling will help the crust to come up to temp quickly and crisp up before the gravy can soak into the crust and make it soggy. Restricting the amount of gravy in the filling can also help with this.

Also, make sure you are baking at a high enough temp - 425F, say, instead of 350F. The length of time needed to bake a pot pie will tend to dry the crust inordinately at the lower temp.

The best way to get a crisp crust from a pot pie is to bake it in a cast iron skillet, though. They do make smaller skillets these days than the giant one I used when baking for my family in the 60s and 70s - it was big enough to make pot pie with leftovers from the Thanksgiving bird, for a family of 7, with pie leftover for the next day!

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Anonymous
12/ 7/2011 11:42 AM

Hi Steve,
The rubber rings can be bought a set which will be color coded in pairs for different thicknesses from 1/16-inch on up. Measure your rolling pin's diameter or bring it with you to the store to make sure the rings will work on it.
We recommend to avoid stretching the dough as it will thin the dough at that area. However you may need to stretch the dough slightly as you are fitting into your pan, especially with deep dish pans, which will be more likely on the sides.

REPLY

ThanKs for the quick reply. No I don't have a rubber ring. I will have to put that on my list. As for stretching the dough before I put it in the pan no I don't. Is there a technique you can share for stretching it without it coming apart. Thanks

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Steve
12/ 7/2011 01:33 AM

Hi Steve,
Are you using rubber rings for gauging the 1/8 inch thickness?
One also needs to be sure that the rings stay on the surface that you are rolling out the dough and not off the pastry mat if you are using it. We assume you are not stretching the dough when you transfer it from the rolling surface onto the pie pan and shaping it.

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Debbie
12/ 7/2011 01:24 AM

Hi Debbie,
Are you making Rose's Lemon Meringue on page 178 from The Pie & Pastry Bible?
The Italian Meringue should prevent the lemon filling from watering out.

REPLY

I am new to baking. I have made your apple pie twice now and love the taste. However, I am having a problem withe the crust. The bottom cracked while baking and the juice bubble under it and make it stick to pan and get moist. Am I doing something wrong. Any suggestions. Thanks.

REPLY

I am new to this site but I love reading the questions and tips. I have learned so much and I am a much better cook from your answers. Here is my question what causes Lemon Meringue Pie to go watery? What do I do to stop it?

REPLY

linda, the answer is you can't which is why in my "pie and pastry bible" i suggest only having a top crust!

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linda little
linda little
10/30/2011 09:48 AM

How can I get a crisp pastry bottom on a chicken pie done on a metal pie plate?.

REPLY

i would freeze it after shaping though it would probably be fine to freeze it after the final turn and before shaping as well.

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Rose, at what point can croissant dough be frozen? I am using your recipe in the PPB, pg. 478. On pg. 481 under storage, all it says is that the unbaked dough may be frozen up to 3 mos. and to add 25% more yeast to compensate for loss during freezing. Is the dough frozen after the mixing stage or after the butter has been folded into the dough and the layers completed?

REPLY

susan purdy wrote a great book called "pie in the sky" where she tested many recipes at different altitudes. be sure to get this book as it will be a great help for you. people like me who don't live above sea level can only speculate. she actually did it.

REPLY

Hi
I have a quick question.... All the recipes I have are for sea level... I just moved and
I can no longer bake a good sucree tart shell.
I do exactly the same I did in Ny... Mix it, refrigerate, shape, refrogera again then blind bake... But they shrink!!!!! Always!
I don't understand what's going on, any idea?

REPLY

amy, it sounds like it's not getting hot enough. if egg yolks don't reach 160˚F the amylase enzyme in them will cause the pastry cream to thin but i'm not sure if it ever thickened in the first place from what you've said. i highly recommend susan purdy's book "pie in the sky" for high altitude baking.

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Hi,

I love your Pie & Pastry Bible. I tried making the fruit tart for the first time last night and had some problems with the pastry cream. It never seemed to thicken. I'll admit I didn't strain the egg mixture after adding the hot half & half as I don't have a strainer. Any ideas on what might have gone wrong? I should add that I live at high altitude, do I need to adjust for that?


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karen, though i was the one who started the copper penny idea years ago in my first book or a magazine article--i forget which--or both--i now prefer rice. i use a large coffee urn filter and a little of the butter from the crust comes through so that the rice becomes toasted. then i use the rice for pilaf!

i discovered that too much weight will compact the crust so i find rice ideal. beans are good too but i don't like the smell during baking a fear the crust may be absorbing some of the odor.

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I have been doing some research about pie weights and wondered whether ceramic or metal (chain)weights are preferred and why. I also saw that some home bakers used pennies in an oven roasting bag, what do you think of that? Because I do not have any pie weights, I have always used dried beans or rice, but some bakers disliked those choices because they were inconvenient and did not allow the crust to crisp without removing the beans and continuing to bake. I just wondered what professionals use. Thanks for any input!

REPLY

Thanks for the reply. As I was making the dough, I said to myself:"The butter is melting...put this in the fridge"...but I had limited time, and I convinced myself that it was going to be fine. LOL. It will probably be a long long time before I make them again. This was the third time for me...and every time I make them I ask myself "is this really worth all this work?" My guests always seem to think it is... but I can turn out a really nice cake with sooo much less work...when there is a whole meal to prepare...well...you know...

REPLY

bill it's hard to know not having seen you make it but generally the quick puff is much more tender and the sheet shouldn't make it tough. i do suspect it was the butter. the only way you can trouble shoot is by making it in cool weather and then baking one piece with the sheet on top and the other without to see the difference. it may be the way the dough was handled, i.e. overworked but knowing you i doubt that!

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Rose:
Good morning! I've got a pastry question. I mad napoleons last week (for the third time). Each time I've done it, I've used the "quick puff pastry" rather than the classic...I read some where (probably in your book) that it works better for Napoleons. I have always docked the dough like crazy, but it still doesn't rise evenly, making the final pastry somewhat uneven. This time, I decided to try baking it with another sheet pan on top (as you direct for the classic puff pastry) but the resulting pastry was not terribly tender (kind of tough). There was another issue, though...the kitchen was hot when I was making the dough, and I think the butter melted a little. Do you think the toughness of the pastry was due to the baking sheet on top...or due to the melted butter. I love Napoleons...but haven't gotten them quite right yet. They looked fine (Pictures posted on the fourm) but the texture is still not what I'm looking for. Should I use classic puff pastry instead? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Oh...and I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

REPLY

for pies, pastry, but no cakes nor breads, the double door commercial convection ovens are the best, if you can, get two, one on top of another, so you can run each at different temperature. Full sheet size.

If you want smaller ovens, I love my countertop Cadco ovens. They come in 1/4 size, 1/2 size, and possibly full size. They have 3 racks, spaced 2.5" appart only, but they are really uniform in heat, no hot spots even when the oven is full or when touching the oven walls!

REPLY

Rose,

I am in the process of getting a Pastry Shop open. Pies both savory and sweet, and other tasty items to fill the cases now and then.
I finally found a space and have been debating what kind of oven to buy that will suit pie making. For the life of me, I cannot find any suggestions out there. Deck oven? Convection oven?
What do you suggest before I spend $4000 on the wrong oven.

REPLY

what is the recipe with the cream cheese is it on this website. thanks denise

REPLY

What kind of apples are you using Theresa?

REPLY

Theresa, try slicing your apples thinner--Rose has a note about this in her recipe. If your slices are too big, it leaves small gaps. When the pie cooks, the crust sets and holds, but the apples cook down and fill in those gaps, leaving a space between the crust and the apples.

REPLY

Theresa, perhaps you need to make some slits or cutouts on the top crust, so the steam inside the pie can scape thus preventing bubbling up the top crust.

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Why do my apple pie top crust rise with a space in between the fruit and the crust? I am hoping you can help.

REPLY

it's not only the brand, it could be the way the apples were stored. but these things can vary so you've been getting good advice about boiling down the liquid more or letting it sit longer to exude more liquid.

REPLY

You can also cook the syrup longer until there is less liquid. The last time I made the pie, I had almost no liquid at all...guess the apples were too dry. I had used Golden delicious. What variety were you using?

REPLY

Hi Brad - What kind of apples did you use? You might experiment with several varieties to see which you like best - some give off more juice than others.

REPLY


This weekend I made your american apple pie as well as blueberry. I used your flakey cream cheese crust which I is the best crust I have ever made (I added a teaspoon of cofecttioners sugar to make it a little sweeter(.

Here is my question, How do I reduce the liquid in the pie. I let the apples sit and than drain them, as instructed, Reduced the liquid to a syrup. Poured it over the apples and than put the apples into the pie plate. There was still alot of liquid left. Any suggestions.

REPLY

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/pine-apple-tart.htm

The Pine-apple Tart.

Flaky cream cheese pie crust coated with sweet milk chocolate, filling is fresh pineapple puree, topping is fresh red apple slices drunken with william's pear liquor and shiny apple jewel glace.

The liquor and glace kept the apples fresh for days. The chocolate kept the crust crisp. Refrigerated.

I wasn't sure if pineapples go well with apples when I designed this tart, but at least it rhymed. Indeed I think the tart was well balanced and all over delicious; most definitely chocolate goes well with pineapple as you do find fresh pineapple sticks coated with chocolate.

REPLY

Thanks for the quick response. I generally find that I need to add the maximum amount of liquid to pie crust - maybe it comes from living in a dry climate. My deep appreciation for your bibles. They have made a believer of me.

REPLY

this is a much more tender dough than the usual strudel dough. but first let me address the error.
originally the recipe was for 2 rolls therefore the 1 teaspoon of sugar that should have been changed to 1/2 teaspoon as it is in the chart.
there is no other mistake in the ingredients. if you look at the basic pie crust you will see that there is more liquid for this one and less butter. also that after kneading this dough it becomes smooth and satiny. if you need to add more liquid to achieve this it's fine. a hungarian friend of mine adds vodka to slightly dry dough to moisten it but prevent it from developing more gluten. but if you find the baked pastry too tender to your taste it's fine to add a little more water.

REPLY

There appear to be 2 errors in the recipe for Hungarian Poppy Seed Strudel (Pie Bible pp 401-404) - one minor, the other serious.

Minor error - the ingredients for the dough call for 1/2 tsp sugar. The directions for making the dough says to add 1 tsp of sugar for proofing the yeast.

Major error - the only liquid called for in the dough recipe is a scant 1/4 cup of water used to proof the yeast and 1/2 an egg yolk (the butter is solid). The resulting dough is extremely dry and does not rise properly and has no tensile strength. When I was making it, I thought maybe a yeast dough for strudel is supposed to be different than other yeast pastry doughs that I have made, but after producing a very tasty strudel that fell completely apart as it rose and baked, I am thinking the recipe needs water or milk or something wet. Has anyone else had this problem?

REPLY

Since I only got a tiny bit of liquid I didn't even try to caramelize it...that's why I added the flour. I wasn't sure how much liquid the fruit would give off in the oven and I didn't want a mess. The flavor was wonderful...and i loved the crust. The filling was a little on the dry side...but the sweetness level was perfect! I'm going to try again with different apples...looking forward to the result of caramelizing the liquid...sounds wonderful. Thanks again for all your help.

REPLY

i never actually used golden delicious and suspect that it is a dryer apple so adding flour would make it less juicy. will be interesting to see but i've made this pie even in france and always get more or less the same amount of liquid after one hour.
the only problem with getting less is that you have less to caramelize but it should be good--golden delicious is an excellent apple.

REPLY

Rose:
Well...I made the apple pie last night. As usual...I ended up baking way into the night/morning. My significant other just looks, does the head shake of disbelif...and goes to sleep. Anyway...I hit a little bump in my pie road. The day before I was planning on assembling the pie,I made the dough for the crust (I used the flaky pie crust recipe using the heavy cream...sounded yummy and wanted to give it a try). I refrigerated it over night, and yesterday I began assembling the pie. I used Golden delicious apples. I peeled and cored them and then sliced them in my food processor with a 1/4" slicing disc (yes...I'm obsessive about that too...just like the uniform cupcakes). I added all the lemon juice and all the sugars, salt spices etc and let it sit for an hour. Now, when I sliced the apples they weren't terribly juicy...and to my horror (lol) after an hour of sitting they had only given off about 2 tablespoons of liquid. I had no liquid to cook down and concentrate. I put them in the strainer and shook...and it gave off almost nothing more. I didn't have any time to wait...since it was approaching 1 am. So I tossed in a little flour so the pie wouldn't run all over the place and assembled and baked the pie. I put it on the floor of the oven, shielding the edge of the crust. After about 30 minutes I moved it up to the shelf, and when I took it out it looked beautiful. (I baked the scraps of the dough...to taste the crust...YUM!). I'm serving the pie tonight. If I had waited longer would I have gotten enough juice to cook down? Were the apples just too dry? I'll let you know how the pie turned out...but with the flour as thickener I'm just expecting a ho-hum result. I'll try again soon...I'm looking forward to using your method.

REPLY

no but i wish i had!

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re: apple pies, I am tempted to make one in Italy using their famous Val Di Non d.o.p variety

http://www.italianmade.com/foods/subcat24020.cfm

apparently some apples are native from Italy!

Have you tried this apple? will it be worth the effort to bake one and carry it all the way to Hawaii?

REPLY

Karen,
Rose updated the plastic-bag technique somewhere on this blog. She now recommends using latex gloves to knead the dough.

Rose does have a recipe for an all-shortening crust and a 50/50 crust. I have tried all of these, and the butter is equally, if not more flaky, and it has a better flavor. The only benefit I have noticed to using part crisco is that a refrigerated baked pie (such as a custard pie) stays a little crispier. I have also read that the crimping holds a bit better with crisco, but I haven't noticed a big difference myself.

Re: vodka, I think the idea is that vodka does not form gluten with flour like water does, so the crust won't be tough. If you use a lower gluten flour, like pastry or wondra flour, and follow Rose's liquid amounts, your crust will be perfectly tender and flaky as well.

REPLY

Karen Levin
Karen Levin
11/11/2007 02:53 PM

Hello Rose,

I am new to this website. I recently bought your Cake Bible and the Pie and Pastry Bible. I love baking and I am excited to try these informative books!! I am a little intimidated by the pie dough instructions because I am not accustomed to kneading pie dough in a bag, etc. I am wondering if you have an instructional video on-line or for purchasing? It would help me to observe the method.

I am also curious as to why you don't use the usual combination of butter and shortening in the recipes? I had read that butter alone did not provide as flaky a dough as those with shortening too. Obviously, you are the expert. I am simply curious about your reasons.

Finally, America's Test Kitchen has recently placed a new pie dough recipe on their website. The recipe uses vodka and I would love to know what you think of this method? They have instructional videos and explanations on their cook's illustrated website.

Thank you very much for your consideration of my questions. I appreciate your time!

REPLY

Rose, thanks...you're the best! I was certain that your methods would work perfectly...I just wasn't sure about cooking the apples...and was wondering what you thought. I have one of those metal shields to protect the crust...so no problem there. I'll keep you posted.

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i think you'll be totally happy with my method of concentrating the juices. it will give you better flavor and texture than cooking them on stove top and there will be no spaces! i look forward to hearing the result!
by the way, be sure to protect the edges with a foil circle right from the beginning of baking.

REPLY

Rose:
Hi...back with another question. I'm going to be baking some apple pies...and I don't do a lot of fruit pies (I just don't love cooked fruit...and If I'm going to be doing all that work...I want to make something that I like!)...but I've been asked to do them for a party. I will be following your recipe in the pie and pastry bible...so far you've never let me down!...but a baking pal insists that one should cook the apples on top of the stove first...says that the filling comes out more compact...less space between the crust and the apple. Have you ever done this? what's your take on it? don't the apples come out too mushy in the end?

REPLY

while we're wishing, i wish they'd make the standard depth and not the deep dish that cap chef makes!

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Rose, what is amazing is that I also asked Lodge to begin making pie plates. This was after I bought the Camp Chef, and I expressed to Lodge concern that the Camp Chef products are made in China (?lead?). I never heard back from Lodge, but it could be that I made a mistake when typing in my e-mail address, as I noticed I had here on my first post (.netk). I like the pre-seasoning on the Lodge better; so I still hope they will make the pie plates at some future time.

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kerry--it's amazing--i presented the same idea to lodge not realizing someone had already done it! i can't wait to hear the results. good thinking about compensating for the continued baking. note that when i bake on the bottom of the oven it's only for the first 20 min or so. burnt crust is of course unpleasant. if prepheating the pie pan i'd do it on the oven shelf and not on a baking stone.

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Actually the pie crust that turned out so good was in a clear Pyrex pan. I bought the cast iron with the thought of preheating it for frozen pies (which I have not yet tried). Since you can have the pie all made up, frozen, and in no plate, it seems like it might be a perfect solution. I will report back - hopefully it won't explode in my oven! A problem might be that the pie will continue to bake long after it is removed from the oven. I will have to compensate. Anyway, Camp Chef is the only brand of cast iron pie plates I've found. Their url is http://www.campchef.com and it is under the category of Cabin Kitchen Cookware for $19.99. Amazon sells it for $16.99.

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kerry where did you find a cast iron pie plate? the only problem with cast iron is that it's slow to heat but once it heats it retains the heat. glad to hear it worked well for you.

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from freezer to oven rack but not from freezer to oven stone as that would probably prove too much of a shock.

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I think the Emile Henry will work. That is the pan I use and I typically refrigerate before baking and I bake on a stone. Rose says they can go from the freezer to the oven too (p. 664). Kerry, for more general info, see pages 17-20.

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Kerry - I wouldn't risk putting my cold/frozen Emile Henry into a hot oven either. I would use metal pie pans instead.

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Thanks, Matthew. I thought I saw someone write once that you could take the Pyrex from freezer to oven. But I guess not. However, is that something you can do with the Emile Henry clay/ceramic pie plates?

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Oh, and as far as breaking, don't try it with the Pyrex.

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Kerry,
No need to agonize. Since you have the P&PB, keep reading, and you will find complete instructions for baking frozen pies. Basically, the only difference is extending the baking time.

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Hello, I am ready to make pies using the Pie and Prstry Bible; and, for the first time, freeze them. But I agonize over how to bake the frozen pies. My thought was to preheat the pans to ensure bottom browning. In other words, I would put my stone on the lowest rung, and preheat my pan along with the stone. Then place the frozen pie directly into the preheated pan. I'm not worried about breaking the aluminum pan, but will any of these break: Pyrex, Emile Henry, cast iron? Has anyone tried this?

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they can sit at cool room temperature for several hours.

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How do I store a cooked pumpkin pie? I am making a lot for Thanksgiving. How long can they sit at room temperature?
Thanks!

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Absolutely with Matthew and Bill!

If prepping ahead is your goal, you could keep the unbaked shell in the refrigerator for several days or frozen for months. Then bake it straight from the refrigerator or freezer, moist proof it, and fill it just ahead of time to chill your wonderful fresh fruit and whipped cream pie prior to serving.

I am hungry.

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I agree with Matthew...it's the refrigeration. If you really want to use a flaky pie crust you have to store it at room temperature and fill them right before serving. I make a fruit tart with pastry cream fairly regularly and always use a cookie crust. (I like things sweet...so it works for me)

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Lauren,
It is the refrigeration that is changing the texture of your crust. As far as I know, there isn't too much you can do to stop it. When I must refrigerate pies, I often use Rose's recipe for 1/2 butter 1/2 crisco crust--I have found it holds up better under refrigeration than an all-butter crust, and it still has a good flavor (although, I haven't tried this with the new crisco yet).

Pie crust just may not be the best choice for these tartlets. Personally, I would probably try a cookie-dough type crust (like a pate sucree).

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My pate brisee tartlet does not remain flaky once it is filled and chilled with pastry cream for my Banana Cream tartlett.

After blind baking it is brushed with chocolate to seal. Then filled with bananas,ginger and pastry cream and whipped cream. Any suggestions as to how the dough can remain
flakey and the pastry cream stays chilled? Can these be made in the morning and served after dinner?

Thanks for your assistance.

Lauren

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that's wonderfully creative. yes--the art of 'concentration'certainly doesn't have to stay only in the sweet realm!

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Rose,
Thanks for the tip about the latex gloves with the pie crust. I'll try them next time. I was using the recipe from the book, and had missed the items in the blog about the latex gloves. My pumpkin pie is pure heaven, so I thank you for that over and over. After reading the comment above about concentrating the juices (I haven't tried one of your fruit pies yet), Iwanted to tell you what I did tonight, for I decided to try that concept in a pasta dish. Hope it's OK to comment. I could only get a big can of pumpkin at Meijers, so I had a lot left over after the pie. I knew I wanted to use it in a pasta dish (we love pumpkin ravioli, and buy them when we're in Italy), and I thought about squash and apples going together as in soup. So I made fresh apple juice with my juicer, concentrated it in the microwave as you suggested, then added it to the caramelized onions and pumpkin (along with rosemary and some "hot" pepper blend seasoning. It was very good.

Thanks again for all of the wonderful things on the blog. It's such a treat, and so much fun to check every day.

Beth

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hector that is TOO funny!

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Bill, my kitchen is medium size, but I always tell myself: if you haven't used something for 2 years and you can buy it again, then get rid of it! I think of it as 'rent' money, each square feet costs $$$ in my area.

MAKE the EPC! You could find better pears than here. Receive the EPC after fasting! because the flavors are many and delicately balanced, you need a clean palate to enjoy this effort.

Follow my timeline of ahead-of-time construction, so you can enjoy the experience longer!

I think Matthew is working on his, so now we will be 3 people making this! I am sure Rose is super HAPPY to follow our triumphs!

Maybe when I see your EPC done, I will eat the last piece I have stored in my freezer in cryogenic vacuum for eternity (although TCB recommends only 3 weeks shelf life).

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that is SO funny, because that's just what one of the sales women at williams sonoma said last year and i told her that i share the same bus. manager as mick jagger! she told me she was more excited about meeting ME. that's a cook/baker for you!

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Rose:
Thanks for your response...I never thought about the border (I often cut out a leaf border - it would clearly be smashed to bits). Again...thanks so much for your generosity. You are amazing! A friend of mine works in Barnes and Noble (she is a wonderful cook and baker) and told me that she once waited on you there. I found myself saying "You are so lucky" .. Then I laughed to myself...it's like you are a rock star to the home baker!

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Hector:
Thanks for your input. I haven't tried the Perfect pie plate yet. I've got this tiny tiny kitchen. My significant other and I have a rule...If something new comes into the apartment, something old has to go. I've got two regular pyrex pie plates, and one deep dish pie plate. I get excellent results from them...so I haven't tried rose's. Maybe I shoud get one. I don't use pie weights either...I usually use rice. I never tried the coffee filters...I usually use parchment paper. Again...its the problem of where to store the coffee filters...(I mean tiny kitchen...lol) Oh...and you have inspired me...I'm going to make the etherial pear charlotte. I've been looking at the recipe for years...just never got around to it. Perhaps this weekend...If I get the time.

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Bill, that is an interesting method; I think it will work as long as you don't have a border. And you are right, the pyrex plate on top would be too heavy, try using aluminum pie plates, like those commercial ones that you get when you buy pie and are lightweight and 'disposable.'

Instead, I find using coffee filters and beans very easy. The commercial size coffee filters fit exactly on a pie plate. I don't use special pie weights as these are too heavy and cumbersome to place.

Have you tried Rose's Perfect Pie Plate?

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it might work but i've never tried it because it would ruin the side border.

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Rose:
Your pie crusts are by far the best I have ever tasted. Everyone that I have baked them for agrees. These recipies are amazing...light, flaky and delicious. Thank you thank you thank you for these recipies.I am so happy to have found this site. First of all I am thrilled to have found the correction for the lemon meringue pie. I made the pie using a double boiler...It was yummy...but fell apart. I'm guessing that this was the problem! Now I have a pie crust question. I always have rested my dough after rolling...and I have good success with minimum shrinkage. I recently read somewhere (don't remember the book)that you can get essentially no shrinkage by using the following method: Line the pie pan with the dough, let it rest in the refrigerator, then place a second pie pan inside the dough and bake the dough, between the two pans, upside down! Has anyone tried this? Does it work?...it eliminates the pie weights and seems easy. I use pyrex pie plates...I think that they would be too heavy and would squash the dough. Does anyone have any experience with this. Pie dough is a bit of work...really don't want to experiment on this.

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judy--you didn't by chance tape it did you? i've never gotten to see this segment and sure would love to. what city was it aired?
the recipe is in the pie and pastry bible.
thanks very much for alterting me to the fact that it aired. it's been over a year since i taped it!

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Rose,
I saw you on Masters Class and you made a Banana Split ice cream pie. Where can I find the recipe. Is it in any of your cookbooks? It looked so mouth watering I'm anxious to try it.
Thank you for your help.
Judy

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i'm assuming you used the flour i recommended so it must be over baking as the sugar in the crust usually keeps it very tender.

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I just starting making my own pie crusts and pies after being inspired by your TV show. I got a copy of your Pie & Pastry Bible, and decided to make the banana cream pie. It was really delicious, and everyone loved it!
I made the Sweet Cookie Tart Crust for the first time, and although it tasted good, it got extremely hard, and it is difficult to remove from the pan. I'm wondering what to do differently next time. I made the crust according to the recipe. It rolled out nicely, but I had some difficulty transferring it to the pie plate, so I ended up patching it some by hand. I blind baked it with beans as a weight at 425 for 5 min, lowered the heat to 375, and baked it for about 10 more minutes. The top of the crust was browning quickly after 5 minutes, so I put a foil shield around it. When it took it out of the oven, the outer crust was a little too browned, but the middle of the crust was golden, with a little tan on the sides. I let it cool, brushed it with white chocolate, and let it cool again overnight before filling it. I'm wondering if I baked it a little too long, or if there's something else I can do differently next time. Thanks for this great site!!

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I am trying to find the recipe for dough for a "rolled cookie", like rugalach, but non-dairy, (without sour cream or cream cheese ). Anyone have a good one that is easy to handle and roll up like a "jelly roll"?

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if you have room in the freezer, store it in a freezer weight zipseal bag in the freezer and you won't have to wash it each time plus it will be cool which is always a good thing for pastry. (this is one of my hottest tips.)

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Michael Francaviglia
Michael Francaviglia
12/ 7/2006 07:48 PM

This is a question from a real novice and someone who has just begun making pie crusts. I just purchased a pastry cloth. What's the best way to care for it? Regular laundering after each use?

Thanks.

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that's very interesting and i suspect the reason is that crisco at room temperature is softer than butter so needs some flour to hold up better. do let us know the results with butter.

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Sally Tofle
Sally Tofle
12/ 7/2006 11:30 AM

For many years I have used Crisco to make my crusts, since it creates a "neutral", all-purpose crust for the kosher kitchen. Several years ago, our local paper ran the original Crisco recipe for the crust. It calls for mixing 1/4 cup of the flour with the ice water to make a slurry. The slurry is then tossed into the flour mixture to make the dough. I've found that this produces a flaky, brown bottom crust that doesn't get soggy, even after defrosting a pie that's been frozen.

I haven't tried this with a butter crust yet, but I'm going to.

Does anyone else use this method?

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I guess I misunderstood the directions. I have been lining the bottom crust. Do you put in enough beans (2 lbs. or so) so that it looks like you are baking a "bean pie?"
Thanks,
Mandy

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i'm puzzeld by your question bc in the pastry bible i specify to use beans or rice and fill the pan with them. they ARE up against the sides preventing slipping.
pie weights are too heavy and will turn the crust into cardboard!

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Rose,
I own and have diligently read the Bread, Pie and Cake Bibles. You have taught me so much! One thing I have always struggled with is blind baking flaky pastry. I let the dough rest overnight both after is is assembled and after it is rolled, the whole process taking two days, only to tearfully watch the sides slide down into a crumpled, flaky heap in the bottom of my pie plate in the oven.

Do I need to "prop" the sides up with pie weights? Help!

Thank you so much.
Mandy

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i guess i gualify as adult since i'll be your age in april!
if you are making MY pie crust from the pie and pastry bible and it's not holding together you need to knead a little to activate the gluten. if that doesn't help, tell me what recipe you're using and what kind of flour.

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Peter Graceffa
Peter Graceffa
11/26/2006 01:21 PM

Ms Levy: I have a copy of your "Pie and Cake Bible" I think it's great. I am 63 and a self taught cook. My daughter is a pastry chef at the "PGA National Golf Resort" here in Florida. my problem is: I make my flakey pie crust and it comes out great, but when I try to put around my rolling pin it and put it falls apart, and I go crazy trying to put back together. I have tried so many things but to no avail. I need some adult leadership to solve my problem.
Thank you
Peter Graceffa

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Janice DeMund
Janice DeMund
11/11/2006 10:52 AM

Is it possible to make a lemon pie filling a few days in advance and then put it in the pie shell and add the meringue and bake it? I am going camping in a motorhome and making the filling is not easy but if I could make the pie crust and the filling separately and add the meringue, it would work - and everyone loves my lemon pies

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i also adore scones with candied ginger. but i'm sorry i can't help with the alternate ingredients as my focus is on no compromise decadence. i leave the rest to people who specialize in the challenge as it's a large grey area!

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Hi Rose! I am so excited that I found your blog. Your scone recipe has turned me (and all of my friends) into scone snobs -- it's just not worth it to eat any other scone.

However, one of my best friends is vegan, and she has asked me to try to make a scone that she can eat. I am not sure how to proceed. I mean, the flavor comes from the butter and cream. There are some decent soy margarines out there, but what would you recommend for replacing the cream? Soy milk with added margarine for the fat? Butter flavoring?

BTW, my favorite variation is to replace the currants with chopped candied ginger. Divine!

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every recipe in the book has storage suggestions so please refer to the pastry bible.baked puff pastry does not freeze well. i do remember suggesting glazing pastry with choc. to help keep it crisp.

yes you can replace the half in half with milk with little to no perceivable difference.

i can't see why flour instead of corn starch would prevent thinning out. i think it might thin a little but not to the point where it becomes watery.

i would do some experimenting first before making it for an important occasion as high humidity certainly has an affect on pastry.

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Hi Rose,
I'm thinking of making some classic napoleons ahead for entertaining. As I live in a hot and humid country, I wonder how long will the assembled napoleons keep before the puff pastry gets soggy? Can I freeze it ahead, and only glaze the top on the day of serving - will the pastry cream thin out on defrosting? Or perhaps wld mixing half pastry cream and half french buttercream produce a consistency that will hold up better in the humidity? Can I also glaze the pastry with a thin layer of choc? - can that prevent sogginess? I've read in some books that if the cornstarch in the pastry cream is replaced with flour - it will prevent thinning out - is that true? Lastly, can I replace the half and half in your pastry cream recipe with just milk? It's difficult to find light cream here. Thks!

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practically everything--well not cheesecake-- slices best with a deeply serrated knife. but pie should look a little homey and crumbly--not plasticy perfect. it indicates that it's a nice flaky crust.

yes--reheating to warm the inside and crisp the crust is great bc the pie has set and will hold its shape unlike when it's still warm and fresh from the oven. this is probably the ideal!

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Hi Rose,

I just served your Best Apple Pie w/ the cream cheese crust to friends, and all agreed that it took the concept of "pie" to a new level! Thank you!

Two questions on pie crust texture:

1) We loved the taste and texture of the crust. The only area I felt I could improve, which no on else cared about, was how to make a crust that slices well. Mine seemed to almost "break" in parts as I cut it. It certainly didn't fall apart, but as I sliced, the crust on either side would break a little. Any thoughts on this? Is this a function of how I kneaded it? I only used all purpose flour (not pastry) so don't know if that would be a factor. Or is there a simple trick to cutting?

2) I'm planning to make our Thanksgiving pies, and I need to bake them a day in advance. I love the way a pie tastes the very first day you bake...the crust is crisper and flakier. I know your book suggests storing unwrapped on the counter. Do you suggest reheating the pies before serving to crip up the crust again?

Many thanks!

Laura

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the steam from the cooling filling softens the top crust. the ony way around this is to bake the topping separately, perhaps in the form of leaves or other decorative shapes and then set them on top when the filling is cool or just warm.

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Why is it that when my pies come out of the oven, the top crust is beautiful and crisp. But as it cools the crust becomes soft. Is there a way to keep the crust crisp until serving time?

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elizabeth, after a day devoted entirely to making a huge batch of ratatouille (more on that at a later posting) and then operating on my francis francis capuccino maker to remove the lime deposits that were preventing me from making coffee (major panic time) your posting on the beloved peach pie was a joy to read.

someone once wrote in a review of the book regarding the apple pie that "though delicious, concentrating the juices was not worth the effort." was he ever wrong!!! i've always wanted to write an article called "the power of concentration" to focus people on this marvelous technique.

thanks again!

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ONE PERFECT "PERFECT PEACH PIE"
Just one more testimonial. This past Saturday I made your Perfect Peach Pie from The Pie and Pastry Bible using the cream cheese pastry and Rose's Perfect Pie Plate and it is undoubtedly one of the best pies I've ever had. Condensing those fruit juices gave this pie incredible flavor. I baked it on a baking stone on the bottom rack and the crust was crisp all over - perfectly browned and great tasting. Thank you so much for yet another wonderful book.

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good question! i leave the pie on the stone the whole time. it's not nearly as intense as the floor of the oven!

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Rose, if you use the baking stone on the bottom oven rack for your pie, do you move the pie to a higher rack after a while (as you would if it was on the bottom of the oven) or do you keep it on the baking stone for the entire baking time? Thanks!

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mary jo, i completely understand your frustration bc i experienced the same thing! but it gives me the opportunity to share an important concept with everyone: there is no such thing or substance that is 100% non-stick. when you use a silicone mat and/or rolling pin, much less flour will be needed than with a pastry cloth and sleeve but you do need to use some flour. i use Wondra bc of its special coarser texture and also that it won't toughen the pastry. every few rolls i move the dough around on the mat, reflouring lightly as needed.
re the plastic bag, here's a great tip: use latex gloves. the dough won't stick to them and you have a lot more control. simply dump the dough onto the counter, or onto the silicone mat, and gather it together with your latex-gloved fingers. knead lightly or "fraiser" with the heel of your hand (smooch the dough forward about three times to help spread the butter and get the dough to hold together). i think you'll be happy you got the rolling pin and mat. and you're right--the mat would NOT have made an attractive wall direction! my new pie plate, however would!

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Mary Jo Koranda
Mary Jo Koranda
11/25/2005 01:10 PM

Rose -

I have your Pie and Pastry Bible and it has been an immense help. I used to end up in tears when I tried to make pie crusts and couldn't figure out why I could never get it off the pastry cloth or into the pie pan in one piece.

In anticipation of Thanksgiving pie making, I ordered a silicone rolling pin and silicone mat (specifically for rolling pastry). With your Bible, I thought I was set!

I used the cream cheese pastry recipe and everything was cold, ingredients in the freezer, pastry discs in the fridge overnight....back to tear city with the silicone stuff. I couldn't believe it! The pastry stuck to the rolling pin and the mat. I re-refrigerated the pastry and got out my old pastry cloth, wood rolling pin and pin cover. Worked fine.

The silicone stuff was pricey, and it is not something that will look charming as a wall decoration. I can't believe it didn't work. Do you have any opinions on these new tools?

I also have not quite got the hang of the ingredients in the plastic bag. Should the pastry be one lump before removing it from the bag? I usually get several large pastry lumps and lots of crumbly stuff that won't go together. I end up taking it out of the bag and molding the disc from the lumps and the crumbs on the Saran wrap.

Thank you for any help you can give.

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