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Adding sugar to Flaky Cream Cheee Pastry
Posted: 06 September 2009 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all, this is my first post!
I’ve recently bought ‘The Pie and Pastry Bible’ and yesterday I made a cherry pie with Rose’s recipe for the flaky cream cheese pastry.
It was very good!
One thing however that I find baffling, is that the recipe contains no sugar. I’ve been using ‘pate sucree’ for all my tarts so far (recipe from Gordon Ramsey) so I’m used to sweet pastry in sweet tart.

If I added a couple of tablespoonfuls of sugar to Rose’s (otherwise perfect) recipe, would the pastry still come out ok?

What are your views on the sugar issue in pastry meant for sweet pies/tarts?

Thanks and happy baking to all!

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Posted: 06 September 2009 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Congratulations on getting your Pie/Pastry Bible, I love mine.

If you like pate sucree, use Rose’s recipe, it’s further into the crust chapter, after all the flaky recipes.

The problem with adding sugar to the flaky cream cheese recipe is that sugar tenderizes pie crust.  If you were to add a significant amount of sugar, you would need to make other adjustments to the recipe to increase gluten strength. 

Be sure to check out the blog version of Rose’s cream cheese crust,  it uses heavy cream instead of water- delicious!

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Posted: 06 September 2009 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dear Julie

Thank you for your prompt reply! I looked in the book and found the recipe you mention for pate sucree’. I see what you mean about the sugar. Maybe I could start by just adding a small amount, like a teaspoon, and see what happens.

Is that the main reason why most American pie recipes seem to have sugar-free pastry?

I’m Italian although I’ve been living in the U.K. so my baking ‘roots’ are a mix of two traditions. In Italy it would be blasphemous to use sugar-free pastry for a sweet recipe; in the U.K. they seem to do it more often but the one time I tried it (with a recipe from British cookery guru Delia Smith, who is a bit like your Martha Stewart), the result was horrible.

Here’s a photo of my first effort that I described in my earlier post. There’s still half of it left for tonight! grin

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v714/asphodelia/DSCN0442.jpg

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Posted: 06 September 2009 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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ASPHODELIA:
  Good evening to you & welcome to our baking forum. I am enjoying viewing your cherry pie. I think you have done a good job of it. I think it would a good idea to add a small amount of sugar as you mentioned to the pie pastry to see if you would like same or not. If you are making a fruit pie the fruit in all probability will be sweetened with either brown or granulated sugar when mixing & blending the other essential ingredients. It should end up with a abundance of sweetness.

  In you other post where you mentioned pastry bakers, Nigella & Ina & others that you will not trust because their recipes do not work… I understand only to well because of the many posts others have posted here & elsewhere & said about the failed baked products they produced from their recipes from their books.
  Recently I had to troubleshoot a recipe from a new member who hasn’t come back since that was all wrong as far as baking science, it was from INA’s book. Here in America it is called “PLAGERIZING”  It is done quite often by God’s human garbage. All they do is go from 1/2 teas salt to a scant 1/2 teas of salt or bake for 55, minutes instead of 60, minutes. That is how they change the recipes. In any event you came to the right place to learn more about baking & baking science. Good luck & enjoy the rest of the day young lady.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 06 September 2009 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Welcome Asphodelia!  Nice cherry pie.  I love to sprinkle sugar on the top crust of my pies before baking - give a nice crunch, a little sweetness, and a glittery appearance.  I brush milk or cream on the unbaked crust, then sprinkle the sugar and bake.

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Posted: 06 September 2009 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Welcome asphodelia! Just wanted to say your cherry pie looks absolutely fantastic!!!  smile

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Posted: 06 September 2009 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dear Patrincia, Rozanne and Freshkid, thanks for your kind replies grin

I see what you mean about plagiarizing. All they need to do is to search online and pinch a few ideas. But they could at least TEST them!!!

About the pie crust, I had the rest tonight and although it was cold (we no longer have a microwave so I didn’t want to toughen it up in the oven), it was DELICIOUS, even better than yesterday. The pastry was wonderful. I had brushed it with a bit of eggwash (white and water) and sprinkled the top with sugar. I’d only put the foil ring on 30 mins into the cooking and I saw a correction from Rose here saying that now she puts the ring on the pie straighaway (don’t know if she referred to all pies), and I think I’ll do that next time because although it wasn’t burnt, the edge was maybe a little bit too brown.

It’s very hard to find 9” pie dishes here in the UK, so until I find one the right size I’m going to have to make double amount of pastry as I had to stretch the pastry a bit too thin this time.

But we’re being academic. I’m SO PROUD OF MYSELF, it’s probably nothing for most people but I feel I really created something really good, from scratch!!!

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Posted: 07 September 2009 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I think the issue of sucre is a matter of taste. American tradition does not put sugar in the crust so that is what pleases most American palettes. I am from that tradition so I find the sweet crust redundant and I like the contrast with the sweet filling.

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Posted: 07 September 2009 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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asphodelia - I’ve been able to find wonderful pie plates of varying sizes through pottery artisans.  Just a thought.

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Posted: 07 September 2009 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Asphodelia, it would be hard to maintain the flakiness of American-style crust with a lot of sugar and egg, which are important to pate sucree.  This is an extreme example, but it is sort of like the difference between puff pastry and a cookie, one is flaky but not sweet, the other is sweet but not flaky.  Personal preference plays a big role, also the intended fillings and shape of the crust (high sides or a lattice wouldn’t work so well with pate sucree).  I love both types of crust, but would never pair a sweet filling with pate sucree or a flaky crust with fresh (uncooked, unsweetened) fruit and a glaze. 

Give one of Rose’s American-style apple pies with the cream cheese crust a try (the open-face designer is my favorite), and you’ll get a good idea of what the American style is like at its best.

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Posted: 08 September 2009 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hi Asphodelia,

Welcome from a fellow UKer! 

Your Cherry Pie looks fantastic - congratulations on such a sumptuous pie.  American pie crust is quite different from the pastries traditionally used in pies here.  It attains a level of flakiness that I only ever got from puff pastry before I went to the States and ‘discovered’ US pie dough.  I do not add sugar to Rose’s cream cheese crust - you can adjust the sugar in the filling and topping to your tastes.  Please don’t try and make it ‘like’ shortcrust pastry - there are enough recipes around for that.  I can guarantee that if you stick with this one pastry for pies and gallettes and use Rose’s sweet dough for tarts, you will get more compliments on your baking than you thought possible!  Not to mention enjoying it yourself.

Pie plates are available in the UK.  Here are a couple of links.  Also, deCuisine but I cannot recommend them as I’ve had a bad experience with delivery.  In addition, you can try Divertimenti or any other good kitchen shop in London.  I recently bought an Emile Henry pie plate from Lakeland.

http://www.cookwareessentials.co.uk/asp/superbrowse.asp?Clid=1382&CaSBJump=A11344~42093&CaAutoMetaTagDescOR=False&CaH1Tag;=&caid=152804&settab;=

https://www.pamperedchef.co.uk/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=7979&catId=9&parentCatId;=&xPrntItmId=1332

Annie

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Posted: 10 September 2009 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thank you all again for your help and advice grin
I think it’s true what you guys are saying, it’s just a different type of pastry altogether. Yes it does resemble puff pastry a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I really like what I’ve tasted so far (i.e. my attempt with Rose’s flaky cream cheese pastry). It was delicious and that was my first attempt. I guess it’s just a ‘mental block’ on my side..!

Annie, thanks for the links, I will try them. I have heard of Divertimenti - if necessary I could even go to their shop as I live about an hour away from London.

Julie, I think I will try making the Apple Pie from Rose’s book this weekend, although I might make it with the double crust rather than open top (because we like the pastry so much!).
Of course I will post here with the outcome wink

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Posted: 25 September 2009 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Hello guys, I promised I’d post again with my next effort and…here it is! http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v714/asphodelia/ApplePie.jpg

It’s the ‘Best All-American Apple Pie’ from Rose’s book. I followed your advice and decided NOT to add sugar to the pastry, and I’m glad I did that because it really does taste delicious without sugar anyway.

The result came out very well, despite the fact that I had guessed the quantities for the apple filling because I wanted to make another small pie for a friend so I kind of added 1/3 to the recipe. Also I made double amount of pastry because my pie dish is 10” (must get round to buying a 9” one online) and last time there wasn’t that much pastry to play around with. My food-processor struggled with that amount so next time I want to make double amount I’ll have to do it in two batches.

I also forgot to heat up a baking sheet for the bottom shelf of the oven but I don’t think the bottom was soggy; I will buy a baking stone anyway (are pizza stones the same thing? That’s the only thing I can find here I think).

Finally, I had ordered those aluminium pie-crust shield things from the U.S. but of course it didn’t fit my pie dish; so my resourcesful other half took a hacksaw to one of them and cut it into 3 pieces, which we fit around the pie crust with bits of foil in between. Perfect!

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Posted: 25 September 2009 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Nice looking pie, asphodelia!  Congratulations on mastering the American-style flaky crust.

Yes, a baking stone is the same, I think, as a pizza stone.  Some people also used unglazed quarry tiles.

To guard the crust from overbrowning, you can also cut a ring from foil, or shape foil strips into a ring.

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Posted: 25 September 2009 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The pie looks very good asphodelia. Glad you liked the crust.

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Posted: 25 September 2009 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Asphodelia, your pie looks wonderful.  Your crust looks perfect and isn’t the filling superb?  May I suggest that you now try the one with the crumb (streusel) topping?  I llike it even better.  I made two of them at the weekend and added brambles to one of them.  Just delicious.

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