How To Parbake And Prebake A Pie Crust
Line the chilled crust with a piece of foil, leaving an overhang all around. Fill with pie weights and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. For a par-baked crust, bake until dry and set, 5 to 8 minutes more. For a pre-baked crust, bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes more. Let the crust cool completely before filling.
Tip : Forget Weights Use Sugar
My kitchen and budget are too tight to accommodate a bag of ceramic pie weights or marbles, and I’d rather save rice and beans for dinner. It’s not that weights aren’t essential, only that my go-to choice is far less traditional: plain white sugar. For one thing, it’s something that any baker has in abundance, and, at seven ounces per cup, it’s wonderfully heavy. It’s also more granular than any other option.
That lets sugar settle into every nook and cranny of the aluminum-lined crust, distributing its considerable weight across the bottom and sides of the pan, and butting up against the taller edges, too. As a pie weight, sugar completely eliminates the risk of slumping, shrinking, or puffing, and obviates the need for docking. The result? A laissez-faire method that gives me a crust deep and flat enough to hold every last drop of filling. When you’re done, simply cool the sugar to room temperature and transfer to an airtight container.
With sugar, you won’t waste money on inedible pie weights or janky beans you’ll have to throw out someday. After cooling, it can be used just like regular sugar in any recipe, or reserved for a few more rounds of pie duty until it turns pale tan. By that point, the toasted sugar will have enough character to add delicious complexity to traditional meringue, mellow the sweetness of blueberry pie, or round out the flavor of classic banana bread. If the idea of baking sugar freaks you out, read up on the concept here.
Heres Why I Prefer Butter In Pie Crusts:
- Butter just tastes better! Whenever I try a crust that is made with shortening, I can always tell because it leaves behind that oily mouth-feel, and Im not about that. Butter is 80-85% fat content, while shortening is 100% fat.
- Butter makes flaky pie crusts. If butter is 80% fat, whats the other 20%? Well, butter is about 15-20% water, which when that water evaporates as it bakes it turns to steam, which puffs up the layers in the dough creating a flaky crust! Science, man!
- But use cold butter! Butter is a little more finicky to work with because of the lower melting point, so the main trick here is to keep it COLD! You want little flecks of butter throughout the dough to create those tender flakes, and keeping the butter as cold as possible is what will help create that, which leads me to the next point
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The Best Pie Weights Substitute
It’s a no brainer: if you’re trying to parbake, prebake, or blind-bake a pie crust and don’t have pie weights on hand, use dried beans. Simply set a sheet of foil or parchment paper on top of the dough, then fill it up with dried beans. If you’re out of those, feel free to use dried rice or popcorn kernels instead using the same method.
The Benefits Of The Food Processor Method
So that’s all very interesting, but the real question is: Why should you care? How does this make forming pie dough any easier?
It does so in two ways. First off, this method completely removes the variability of a traditional pie dough recipe. By weighing out a given amount of flour and fat, combining them together until they form a near homogeneous paste, and then adding the remaining dry flour to that paste, you are very strictly defining exactly how much flour is used for gluten formation and how much ends up coated with fat. No more trying to visually judge whether the fat is properly cut into the flour. No more adding ice water a drop at a time until a dough is formed. The dough comes out the same, every single time.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik
The other key advantage is that your dough becomes much more pliable. The flour-fat paste formed at the beginning is much softer and more malleable than pure butter, which means that your final dough rolls out smoothly and easily with little-to-no risk of cracking like a traditional pie crust, even without the vodka.
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Secrets For Flaky Pie Crust
Want that flaky crust? Cold. Keep your butter cold and keep your pie crust cold. when those bits of butter melt in the oven they will create pockets of air making the dough flaky. So start with cold butter and dont over work it or sit and let your kids play with it with their warm hands! Only add as much liquid as you need, no more!
Here we are step 2: Adding in that COLD butter!
Step three: You can see the blended ingredients in coarse crumbs and then the rest of the flour being added.
Step four: The ice water has gone in! How do I make ice water? I just put a bunch of ice and water in a pyrex and let it sit while I do everything else for the pie and by the time I need it the water is cold and I can just use a tablespoon to scoop out the water I need!
This is how you know you have added enough water, the pie crust mixture sticks together when you pinch it!
What Is A Pie Shield
If you plan on baking pie, a pie shield will be your best friend. I went for years without one, scraping together aluminum foil to create a makeshift shield to prevent my pie crust from browning too much.
BUT the little handy pie shield invention is a SUPER simple tool to make sure your crust doesnt get too brown. Theyre cheap, and so worth it in my opinion!
Heres the link to the one I have if youre interested. I know they make silicone ones now, and I am sure they work great too! Just make sure youre buying the right size for the pie plate you have!
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Tip : Bake Low And Slow
Most recipes will have you blind-bake in two stages, starting the pie dough with weights and liners in a super-hot oven . Once the dough is lightly browned, after 15 to 20 minutes, the crust comes out of the oven, the weights are removed, the dough is docked, then it’s put back in the oven and baked 15 to 20 minutes more.
Not only does this feel remarkably like doing the hokey pokey , the results aren’t that great. High heat encourages the pie dough to shrink and puff, reducing its capacity for filling, distorting the decorative border, and creating air pockets all over the bottom and sides of the crust.
I vastly prefer blind-baking for an hour at 350Â°F , with pie weights in place the entire time. First of all, it takes zero effort on my partâI stick the dough in the oven, then pull it out when it’s done. But second, blind-baking at a more moderate heat reduces shrinkage and puffing, for a golden-brown crust that’s perfectly flat along the bottom and sides.
As it turns out, I’m not alone. Chefs like Nancy Silverton and Wolfgang Puck have been advocating the low-and-slow approach since the mid-’80s. Ultimately, it doesn’t take much longer than a high-heat approach, but the effort-to-reward ratio is unparalleled and the results even more golden and crisp.
Also Invest In A Pastry Cutter
This is one of those annoying kitchen tools that always gets stuck in your drawer and takes up space. I know, its annoying. And trust me, my pastry cutter is pretty mangled, but it does the job. Its just the easiest tool to use to cut butter into a pie dough. Theyre cheap, so its not a huge investment, and I will tell you they are useful in other ways beyond pie crust! We use ours for making guacamole! haha!
BUT if you dont have a pastry cutter and youre not planning on buying one, here are a few option s of things you can use in its place:
- A Fork. This will take a little longer, and the tines are spaced closer together than a pastry blender, but it will work.
- Food Processor. I know lots of folks who swear by a food processor when making pie dough. Its actually a great idea, because you pulse it until its done and you have less chance of overworking your ingredients. Im just lazy and hate pulling my food processor out!
- Butter Knives. Two butter knives can do the trick as well, its just a little bit more tricky!
- A Cheese Grater. I only recommend using a cheese grater if you freeze your butter. Otherwise it gets a little mushy!
- You Hands. This is a last resort because the heat of your hands warms the butter pretty quickly. So if this is what you plan on doing, again, freeze your butter!
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How To Make A Pie Crust: A Simple Step
Basic pie dough contains few ingredients: flour, water, sugar, salt and butter . Many people like to sub in vodka or vinegar to their pastry to make the crust more tender, but I’m going to make a controversial statement and say those things are not necessary. If you have the proper dough technique down, you don’t need anything other than water to make a delicious crust.
Why Does The Butter Have To Be Cold
So heres a little tidbit shared by grandma. You want the dough to stay as cold as possible before baking because it is those little cold fat pockets of butter that will melt and create the flakiness you desire.
If your butter is too warm, the fat will result in hard, greasy clumps. Not good for pie, or anything else, really.
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Top Tips For Making Pie Crust
- Plan ahead. Pie crust works best if you are able to make it ahead of time so that it can rest overnight. The minimum rest period that it needs is 2 hours, but you will get best results if you are able to leave it to rest overnight.
- Keep everything cold. Make sure you have cold butter, and ice cold water. This helps to stop the butter from melting and means your dough is nice and easy to work with.
- Don’t work it too much. Gluten is a bad word when it comes to making homemade pie crust. You don’t want to develop too much gluten in the crust by over working it. Be gentle when mixing your liquid in. The laminations is adding folds to the dough rather than kneading it – like rough puff pastry.
Basics Steps To Make Pie Crust From Scratch
Regardless of what method you use to make pie dough, these are the essential steps:
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Gemmas Pro Chef Tips For Making No
- I have over 30 Pies on this site! Use this pie crust for any of my pie recipes.
- If you omit the sugar, this pie crust can be used for savory dishes like chicken pot pie, quiches, or an Irish potato pie.
- If you want a richer pie crust, use milk instead of water.
- You can freeze the pie crust. When you are ready to use, take it out of the freezer, fill the crust with your fillings, and bake as the recipe instructs.
- This pie crust can be made gluten-free substitute, 1:1, gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
How To Make Flaky Pie Crust
I am very worried, friends. Worried that the fear of pie crusts may be keeping a great many of you from making your own pies at home. Is this true? Does this sound like you? Do debates over butter vs. lard or tender vs. flaky make you want to run and hide? Well, take a deep breath and grab your notebook today were going to go over how to make a pie from start to finish, one step at a time.
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Can I Use Shortening Instead
So, my grandmother would do it one of two ways. This recipe with all butter, because the flavor you get with butter is incredible.
But sometimes she wanted that dough to be a little flakier, so she would sub in half of the called for butter with shortening. It does give a slightly flakier crust, so I like to reserve that version for the top layer. I just dont like it AS MUCH for the bottom layer because I want it to hold together differently than I would for the top.
Flaky Vs Tender Crusts
The flakiness of a crust is a result of both the fat that you use and how much you work the fat into the flour before adding the water. Because of their higher melting temperature and unique structure, lard and shortening do make very flaky crusts. But you can make an equally flaky crust using all-butter by not over-incorporating the butter into the flour. In this recipe, that means adding the butter in two additions, and cutting it into the flour just until you see pieces no larger than peas. Conversely, if you like a very tender crust, work the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.
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Tips For Making Pie Crust