3 essential techniques for perfectly flaky pie crusts

NNicholas February 8, 2024 7:01 AM

Ah, the allure of a perfectly baked pie! The crust is arguably the most important part - and also the trickiest to get right. But fear not, fellow baking enthusiasts! This guide will walk you through three essential techniques for making a flaky pie crust that will elevate your homemade pies - sweet or savory - to the next level.

Technique 1: Choosing the right ingredients

For a flaky pie crust, the ingredient choice matters. Here are the key players in the pie crust game:

  1. Flour: Standard all-purpose flour works just fine. However, if you want an extra flaky crust, consider using pastry flour. It has a lower protein content, which means less gluten formation and therefore a more tender crust.

  2. Fat: This is where the 'flaky' in 'flaky pie crust' comes from. The fat you use makes a big difference. Many swear by using a combination of butter and shortening. Butter for the flavor, and shortening for the flakiness.

  3. Water: The water you add should be ice cold. This helps keep the fat from melting before the pie gets into the oven, which is key for a flaky texture.

Technique 2: Preparing the dough

Making pie dough is a delicate process. Here are some pointers:

  • Don't overwork the dough: Overworking encourages gluten formation, which results in a tough crust.

  • Keep everything cold: This includes your hands! Cold helps keep the fat solid, which is essential for flakiness.

  • Rest the dough: After mixing, let your dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour. This relaxes the gluten, making the dough easier to roll out, and helps the fat stay solid.

Technique 3: Baking the pie crust

Finally, onto the baking! Here are some tips:

  • Preheat your oven: A hot oven helps set the crust quickly, ensuring it holds its shape.

  • Use pie weights: These prevent the crust from puffing up in the oven.

  • Bake until golden: A golden crust isn't just pretty - it's also tasty! Plus, it's a good indicator that your crust has baked long enough to become beautifully flaky.

Incorporate these techniques into your baking routine, and you'll be on your way to producing pie crusts that are the talk of the town!

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