Troubleshooting Problems with Pastry Pie Crust
Common problems that can occur when making a pastry pie crust, the possible causes, and the solutions to help correct the problems.
PROBLEM: Crust shrinks excessively.
Possible Cause: Stretching dough when placing in pie plate.
- Roll pastry large enough to eliminate need for stretching.
- Ease toward center when placing in pie plate.
- Prick crust thoroughly.
Another Possible Cause: Baking pie shell immediately after preparation.
- Allow pie shell to rest about 30 minutes (preferably in the refrigerator for a flakier crust) before baking.
PROBLEM: Crust is crumbly, too tender.
Possible Cause: Too little gluten formation.
- Cut shortening or butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal.
- Chill shortening or butter.
- Add more water. Work dough more once water is added.
PROBLEM: Crust is tough.
Possible Cause: Too much gluten formation.
- Cut shortening into flour more thoroughly.
- Use shortening that is at room temperature.
- Use 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar as part of the liquid.
PROBLEM: Crust is not flaky.
Possible Cause: Shortening (or butter or margarine) is cut in too finely.
- Use all shortening instead of part butter and/or margarine.
- Keep ingredients and dough cold.
- Cut shortening into flour into larger pieces.
- Chill crust before baking.
PROBLEM: Bottom crust is soggy.
Possible Cause: Oven temperature too low or baking time too short.
- Increase oven temperature and/or baking time.
- Brush crust with egg white and chill before filling.
Another Possible Cause: Filling too hot when placed in pie shell.
- Cool filling before adding.
- Add filling just before baking.
- Use a glass or aluminum pie plate.
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