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How can I keep a pie crust from shrinking when I prebake it?

Mar 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

A pie crust that shrinks a great deal is also one that is tough. This is a result of too much water, too high a protein flour, and or overhandling of the pastry. My cream cheese pie crust in The Pie and Pastry Bible is one that shrinks very little.

But it will help any recipe to allow the dough to relax after rolling and lining the pan for at least 1 hour, covered and refrigerated. Lining the crust with parchment and dried beans or peas until it has set also helps to keep itís shape. A coffee filter, the sort used for coffee urns, is just the right size and shape to line the pastry.

Comments

Hello Caren!

I had the same problem with the aurora blood orange tart. My curd and meringue were runny. We all decided that it tasted good, but the texture was more like mousse.

I was confused when I was making the meringue too, because the instructions for the chocolate speckled meringue in the back of the book said to let it cook at a low temp. for a long time, while the instructions for the pie said to cook it for about 10 min at 350 ... maybe this is why only the top cooked? But is that how it is supposed to be?

the blood orange curd certainly is delicious though!

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Caren,

I had the same problem with the aurora blood orange tart. My filling and the meringue were runny. The meringue looked undercooked! We all decided that it was still pretty tasty, but more like a mousse in texture.

I was confused, because the instructions for the chocolate speckled meringue in the back said to cook it at 200 for a long time, but the directions with the meringue said just to give it about 10 minutes at 350 ... so my top was cooked and the inside wasn't. The blood orange curd was amazing though!

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Ok, I will. I just got a new pastry blender in the mail today so I must justify it's existence. That means I have to try more pies.

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mike my very best crust is the cream cheese crust and it's on the blog. i don't think it will give you this problem of doming--do try it and let us know!

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I appreciate the replies. The apples were about 1/4" thick perhaps a tad more. I've just started trying to make pies and my first suffered from the apples turning into applesauce. Since then I have gone to a mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. These should not be as moist.

The crust is an all butter crust (2 sticks). The flour is a mix of 50% cake flour and 50% AP flour. (I've also used just AP flour.) Pastry flour is not available in my neck of the woods. I have tried a laminated dough as well (butter) and it still kept the dome. The crust is flaky but it's like the St. Louis arch, waaay up there! I have not yet tried a dough with shortening.

Rose, I must confess that while I have your Bread Bible and have watched your old pie videos, I do not yet have the Pie & Pastry Bible. I should be getting this in January.

Once again, thanks to both of you for the replies.

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mike, matthew is correct about slicing the apples more thinly. also chose apples that aren't high in water (macintosh for example are very high) as they collapse down when baked.

my guess is you're using a vegetable shortening crust. butter, just as in cookies, starts melting and flattening out quickly from the heat of the oven.

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Mike, I would consult the apple pie recipe in the pie and pastry bible, but one helpful thing would be to slice your apples thinner.

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This is not exactly about a shrinking crust but I could not find a closer match.
What about a non-shrinking crust? My top crust for an apple pie tends to stay right where it started. This leaves the interior of the pie with a dome like a stadium. The top crust will be flaky but about an inch or more above the fruit. I need to know how to get the crust to follow the filling or how to keep the filling level up.
Thanks,
Mike

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when making meringue for lemon pie make sure your bowel is dry and non of the yolk gets in the whites of your eggs i make it all the time and never have a problum hope you find this helpful

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when making meringue for lemon pie make sure your bowel is dry and non of the yolk gets in the whites of your eggs i make it all the time and never have a problum hope you find this helpful

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Hi Rose, thanks for your wonderful books. I have learned so much from them. I just made the Aurora Blood Orange Meringue Pie and the curd turned out to be very runny when I sliced it. I followed the recipe to best, what could have gone wrong? Also, I always have trouble rolling out a pie crust as it sticks to the marble, is the pastry cloth the only solution?

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Armatha Calhoun
Armatha Calhoun
09/22/2008 10:40 AM

to prevent my pre baked pies from shrinking I place wax paper over crust then put a pie pan on it then put a metal weight on it to hold it down works good for me.

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rosary, re the butter cubes,when i use a solid 1 lb. block of butter i cut 3/4" cubes but with sticks i just cut each stick in half the long way and then again in half the long way so i have 4 long pieces and then cut each about 1/2 inch. i really don't think it makes much difference as to exact size as long as all the pieces are similar in size. the elasticity has more to do with how much you work it when gathering it together and kneading it lightly.

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PIE CRUST QUESTION: Are butter "cubes" really cubes?

I don't know how to blog, couldn't find how to start a new topic. Sorry if this is in the wrong category.

Dear Rose:

When you say to cut the butter into "3/4" cubes" do you really mean 3/4" PIECES? It is impossible to get cubes (equal on all sides) from a stick of butter. It finally occured to me that my guesses as to what you really mean, i.e., the size of the "cube" I start out with, effects the length of time I process the dough before it becomes the size of "small peas" and, therefore, effects the final crust. Maybe that's why my dough in not as elastic as you describe. Still tastes good but leaks.

Rosary

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that is BRILLIANT! i'm having one of those why didn't i think of it moments.

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Colin Bowness
Colin Bowness
01/27/2007 03:35 PM

When weighting a pie crust for pre-baking I understand that it is desirable to allow moisture to escape and have used coffee filters rather than parchment or aluminum foil to that end. However I have recently been using cheesecloth instead. This has the advantage that it is easier to spread the weights out to support the edges and the hot weights are easily removed by gathering up the edges or the cloth. I cut off about a foot of standard cheesecloth and stretch it across the pastry shell - this gives two layers of cloth, plenty strong enough for the ceramic beads I use as weights. Even discarding the cheesecloth after one use this is a very inexpensive solution.

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when they're in the package they're about 9 inches in diameter and if laid flat 15 inches. they were given to me by a restaurateur so i'm afraid i don't know more but when i needed one in an emergency for a t.v. show i went to a coffee shop and they gave me one so i suspect it's a standard coffee urn size. maybe the best thing is to go to a local coffee shop and ask them to show you what they use and tell you the filter size.

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Hi Rose,

In your great P&PB book you suggest lining pie crusts with large coffee filters, rather than foil, before blind-baking. I've been looking on the web for a place to buy these oversized filters, but there are so many size choices out there, I can't tell which one is the right size. Do you have a filter size or model number I could look up? Thanks!

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mark, i've never used pasteurized eggs in the shells but i have tried the egg whites. they do put something in to stabilize them but i still add the cream of tartar and found it worked well.
have you checked the egg board's web site? if you need the link do a search for eggs on this blog but you should find it easily through google.

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hey jack--just found your comment from back in march! thanks so much--i agree--i have yet to improve on that brownie!

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I'm about to make a lemon meringue pie, using your Pie and Pastry Bible recipe and my own home-grown Meyer lemons. My question is about the meringue. You give recipes for an Italian meringue and a safe-egg meringue made by precooking the whites to 160. Have you had any experience with using eggs pasteurized in their shells? I tried them once, and couldn't seem to get the eggs whites to whip well. This would seem like any easy way to ensure safe meringues. Any suggestions on using these eggs?

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Hi Rose. Yesterday I baked a batch of your brownies with ganache plugs. They were out of this world. I happen to have some homemade caramel in the fridge, so I gently heated it with some cream to loosen and added this in place of the ganache plugs for a few of the brownies. I then frosted the top with some of the ganache. Absolutely a hit! Thanks for sharing the recipe on your web site.

I have learned much from your web site and just ordered "The Bread Bible" from Amazon hoping to learn much more! Jack

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