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Category ... Ingredients

What is the ideal thickener for fruit pie?

Mar 30, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

The three most common starches used to thicken the fruit juices of a pie are flour, tapioca, and cornstarch. I prefer cornstarch because I find that it actually enhances the flavor of the fruit.

But as any starch in excess dulls the fresh fruit flavor and can make the texture gummy, I like to let the cut fruit sit with sugar for at least 30 minutes, drain the syrup that forms, reduce it by 1/2 to 2/3 or until very thick (I like to use the microwave but be sure to use a large liquid measure sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray to keep it from boiling over) and add it back to the fruit filling.

This way only about 1/3 the usual amount of thickener is required, the pie is just as juicy, and the bottom crust crisper.

Soggy Bottom Pie Crusts

Jan 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

SUNSHINE QUESTION

Feedback: 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!

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