Defining the Perfect Pie Crust, Step by Step and more…
Posted by Warren
Does the perfect pie crust really exist?
A perfect pie crust is
flaky, tender and golden brown
that has flavor good enough
to eat on its own.
We are all searching for that perfect pie crust to impress our friends and family. We want best in show or just to say “I’m able to make one fabulous pie crust.”
But does such a pie crust exist? The perfect pie crust is both flaky and tender. It has light flaky layers. A tender and golden brown crust that has flavor good enough to eat on its own. The layers of dough are distinct and clearly seen.
The crust bakes up to a golden delight not brown. The crust is sweet smelling like a fresh pastry shop. The taste of the pie crust can stand on its own, if need be without competing with the filling.
Pie Crust types:
There are basically two types of pie crust and the combination of the two, flaky and mealy.
The fat is rub or cut into the flour to the size of peas. The larger and more pieces of fat in the dough flakier and crispier the baked pie crust will be.
The liquid is added to the dough and worked just enough to allow the water to be absorbed by the flour. Just when the ingredients come together the dough is formed into a disk and allowed to rest and cool under refrigeration.
Two types of
flaky and mealy.
Flaky pie crust is best for pies, tarts and other pastries where pie fillings are baked in the crust. It does not suit well for fully pre baked or blind baked pie crusts. Neither is it good for pies that are filled later and sit under refrigeration.
After baking, the pockets of flakes in the dough may allow juices or liquids to leak from the crust. This will create a messy and soggy bottom. Yuck.
If the butter or shortening is more thoroughly worked into the dough until the mixture resembles coarse meal. The results will be what is referred to as mealy dough.
Mealy dough has a finer more tender texture than a flaky pie crust. With the fat or oil more evenly distributed in the flour the stands of gluten present in the dough are shortened. This results in a dough that is very tender.
As with flaky pastry dough mealy dough should be wrapped in plastic and allow to rest under refrigeration. This relaxing period assist in reducing shrinkage during rolling and baking.
Mealy doughs are well-suited for all types of pies and tarts. But mostly for pies that require a fully baked pie shell or need refrigeration before being served. These crusts served well for custard pies and decorative tops such as lattice.