Pies

For a printer-friendly version of the Trouble-Shooting Pies chart, click on the icon to download.
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For a printer-friendly version of the Fixing Mistakes chart, click on the icon to download.
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Pie dough is a simple combination of flour, fat, salt, and a little liquid.

Pie dough is one of the five basic types of classic pastry, which include:

Type of dough Characteristics
Mealy or short flake pastry produces a crisp but not flaky crust
Medium flake pastry the crust separates into flakes instead of breaking "clean" when a piece is broken off.
Long flake pastry somewhere in between medium flake and a true puff pastry, an example is tarts.
Puff pastry pastry made in a leaflike manner; a layer of flour is separated by a layer of butter and the sequence is repeated.
Choux paste egg rich mixture that expands into a "shell" three times its original size.

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American pie crust is made with a medium flake pastry.

The following are characteristics of a good pie:

Note:
Two of the most important steps when making pie crust are: use chilled ingredients, and do not overblend.

Preparing Dough

Fat Effect on dough
lard flakiest crust
butter best flavored crust; not as tender because butter contains some milk solids; has the most cholesterol and saturated fat
vegetable shortening light and flaky crust due to the air contained in teh shortening itself; no cholesterol

For a printer-friendly version of this chart, click on the icon to download.
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Rolling Out Dough
Chilling the dough is very important before rolling it out. If the shortening is too warm, it combines with flour and water too easily and results in a tough crust. The shortening used in pastry should never be completely incorporated into the flour. Instead, the cutting in process allows the shortening to be broken into many medium-sized pieces that are coated with flour. This creates a dough with multiple pieces or pockets of shortening. When this mixture is rolled out, the little pieces of shortening are flattened, and they bake into layers, or “flakes.” This is what forms a flaky crust.

Baking Pies

Finishing Touches

How to Make a Lattice Top

Simple Lattice

Woven Lattice

Note: (To save time, do not weave strips; simply lay the second half of strips across the first strips and trim ends.)

Diamond Top


Pie Toppings

The best looking pies have a finishing touch - a special topping to complement the filling. See chart below.

Pie Toppings
For a Two-Crust Pie With: Do This:
A shiny, glossy top Brush with slightly beaten eggs; sprinkly with sugar, if desired. An egg white wash will be clear; the whole egg or egg yolk wash will be bronze.
A golden-brown, shiny top Brush with milk, cream, or a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water; sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
Pastry cutouts Roll scraps of leftover dough. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. Moisten the back of the cutout with wtaer, and place the moistened side down on top of the crust. An extra coating of an egg wash will make cutouts darker and more visible.
Cut-out design Use a knife or canape cutter before placing top crust over filling.

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Pie Doneness
There are two ways to determine whether the pie filling is done.

With a berry pie, the surest method is to simply look at it. If the filling is clearly bubbling through the slits in the top of the crust and the crust is evenly browned, the pie is done.

Pies that contain sliced fruits, such as apples or peaches, should be additionally tested with a fork or toothpick inserted through the slit into the fruit itself to ensure that the fruit is tender.

Storing Pies
Pies containing eggs and dairy products (such as milk, sour cream, whipped cream or topping, ice creams, yogurt, and cream cheese) must be refrigerated or frozen as appropriate.

If the room temperature is excessively warm, refrigerate a baked fruit pie.

Troubleshooting pie chart in there somewhere - pdf it

Fixing Mistakes
Every once in a while, an ingredient presents a problem. Usually it may be that a particular ingredient is missing from the pantry or spice shelf. Other times, it may be the opposite problem – there’s too much of an ingredient in the dish! The chart linked at the top of the page may help remedy common kitchen “disasters.”

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