Tips From The Kitchen: Pie Crust 101

Cold weather leads to much more baking in our kitchens. The heat from the oven and the smell of freshly baked pie can turn anyone’s winter frown around!

To achieve pie crust perfection, we have some tips that will help you get that perfectly flaky crust. This also applies to your favorite biscuit or scone recipe!

Let’s start with the butter or shortening and the role it plays in a pastry recipe. Whether you are making your pastry with butter, shortening or a combination of both it is important to:

  • Chill the butter or shortening before using.
  • Cut the fat into small pea-size pieces in the flour using a food processor, pastry blender or a grater (we love this technique!)
  • Make sure the remaining ingredients added are cold.
  • Handle the dough as little as possible to avoid making the gluten tough.

GratingButter_SocialMedia_G

The science behind it? A baked item is flaky because the fat and flour layers are thin sheets before the liquid is added to form dough. When baked, the fat melts and steam is formed which forces the pastry to separate into flaky layers.

We also recommend:

  • Roll your dough to an even thickness so that it bakes evenly.
  • When rolling out pie dough, gently place it in the pie pan without stretching the dough. If stretched the dough may shrink or contract when baked.
  • Refrigerate the pie dough once in the pan for about 15 minutes. This allows the gluten to relax and there will be less shrinkage while baking.

Here’s our favorite pie recipe at the moment – Jam Filled Hand Pies! The perfect size for an individual treat, and delicious with whatever flavor jam you prefer.

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