As the holidays approach it means one thing. It’s time to start baking! One of the biggest holiday staples year after year is pie. Whether you are making pumpkin, apple, or pecan the one thing that doesn’t change is the crust. This can be what makes or breaks your pie breaking experience and for many bakers is the bane of their existence. Trying to get your pie crust just right can feel like a huge undertaking. You need to get the right consistency, flavor, and most important; get it in the pie tin in one piece. There are several quick and easy tips that will make your pie a favorite for years to come. Try them and realize pie crust is no longer the enemy!
Let’s start with consistency. The key to a great pie crust is making sure it is light and flaky. In order to ensure this happens you need to make sure not to over work your dough. Most recipes consist of just flour, shortening, and a little bit of water. Make sure you cut the shortening into small almost pea sized pieces as you blend it with the flour. Next add the water, use as little as possible to get the dough to stick together; without turning it into a gooey mess. The next step to perfect pie crust is flavor; because of the limited ingredients, many people complain that even the flakiest of crusts is still boring and bland. To avoid this, my favorite trick is just adding a half cup of sugar to the flour before adding in the shortening. Since this will increase the amount of dry ingredients you will need to slightly increase the amount of shortening you use. The result will be a sweeter pie crust that almost resembles the flavor of your favorite sugar cookie!
The hardest part of making pie crust is always rolling it out and getting in your pie tin before it crumbles into a million little pieces. To avoid this I recommend two things. First invest in silicone baking mats; these naturally prevent sticking and allow you to lift the mat rather than the pie crust itself. While silicon will prevent sticking it is still advised that you lightly flour the surface before rolling. The second tip is getting a glass or marble rolling pin that you can chill ahead of time. By chilling the rolling pin you will avoid having the shortening melt and there is less chance of the crust becoming sticky.
Once the dough is rolled out on the mat simply lift the mat and flip the crust into the pie tin. For double crust pies, if the top crust cracks don’t stress! There is a quick fix that will prevent your guests from seeing the flaw. Simply roll out any excess pie crust you have and cut out flowers or other decorative shapes to use as “bandaids”. This will give your pie a more elegant look that no one will guess was actually to fix your mistake! The last step to a perfect pie crust is wrapping the edges in foil. This will allow the top of the crust to brown while preventing the edges from becoming to crisp. Try following these simple steps and you can create awarding winning pies your family will love!