SUNSHINE QUESTION: I was given "The Pie and Pastry Bible" for my 21st, and have enthusiastically begun pie-baking with your recipes. My mother has always used the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook circa 1950 pastry. I live in Adelaide, Australia, and many branded ingredients are not readily available (including, sadly, sour cherries and concord grapes). I am having a problem with the bottom crust of my pies, in both single (family recipe of banana cream) and double crust pies (both apple, rosy apple cranberry, and peach - all from The Pie and Pastry Bible). Even when prebaked, and brushed with eggwhite, the crust becomes soggy, and is literally disolving by the time the pie is served. I have been using a baking stone, and a gas oven. Nonetheless, I find my pies have a "collar" of crust around the edges - and as the pastry is my favorite part, any help you can provide would be much appreciated! Thanks,
ROSE REPLY: how i loved my visit to adelaide. i would feel sorry for you not having sour cherries except that you have so many other fantastic ingredients we don't have here in america. but someday you must taste them! re the soggy bottom pie crusts: have you tried baking directly on the floor of the oven for the first 20 minutes? i find that helps enormously. for the banana cream pie i would brush the baked pie shell with melted white or dark chocolate that creates an excellent seal for a cream filling. for the fruit pies, if you are concentrating the juices as i recommend and baking on the floor of the oven for the first 20 minutes and still getting a dissolving pie crust i have to question the flour you are using. flour varies significantly from country to country. when i did a demo of strudel at the melbourne tasting australia event, the bakers there recommended a specific flour they knew would work well. it might be a good idea to ask one of the local bakers what flour they would recommend for pie crust. do let me know. i strongly believe that if a bottom pie crust is soggy and thereby not worthy eating it's better to do a top crust only!