Pastry Tips

Making flaky, tender pie crust is easy if you follow these simple tips.

  • Cold ingredients produce the flakiest crust. Be sure to use very cold fat. In warm weather, it helps to chill the flour ahead.Cut the fat in until your mixture resembles small peas or gravel. The more you incorporate the fat past that point, the less flaky your crust will be.
  • If you are making a double crust pie, it helps to have a little extra dough for the bottom crust. Divide the dough in two, making one part slightly larger than the other.
  • Pastry handles better when chilled than at room temperature — 30 to 40 minutes in the refrigerator before rolling is usually sufficient.
  • You can chill pastry in the refrigerator for longer than 40 minutes — up to 2 or 3 days if it is wrapped well. If you do store it this long let it sit at room temperature for 5 or 10 minutes before rolling to allow the dough to become more pliable.
  • Roll your pastry on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper. Invert the pastry right over the pan, or filling, and peel the paper off.
  • You can patch tears in pastry by pinching or pressing it back together. Large gaps can be patched with trimmings cut from the overhanging dough.
  • Don’t stretch the pastry when you are lining a pie pan with the bottom crust. Rather, ease the pastry into the pan, gently tucking it into the bottom crease.
  • For added luster, sparingly brush your top crust with cream just before baking. In addition, you may sprinkle a large pinch or two of sugar over the top for an extra bit of sweetness.

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