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Pie crust woes

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I have made a fair number of decent pie crusts in my life, but lately I seem to be cursed with crusts that fall. This had never happened to me but it's happened to my last two crusts (two different recipes); the sides on one fell completely, while the middle poofed up, and my most recent one sagged in one spot. Is this mostly due to the crust not being cold enough when it hits the oven? Is my oven not hot enough as well? Any other suggestions for improvement?

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  1. I would start by checking the oven with an accurate thermometer to make sure it's working correctly.

    1. I agree-check your oven. Especially if you haven't changed recipes or tweaked ingredients, the most likely culprit is temperature. Chilling the crust might help too. I frequently do this when it's very warm in the kitchen.

      1. I have been chilling the dough. The latest effort was thoroughly cold. It was a butter dough and had been in the frig for 1 hr. The previous one had some weird issues because I had taken it out of the freezer, then it became very room temp, etc., so the second one (which did better but still sagged) was an improvement.

        About the oven, I meant more that it should be preheated well in advance. I think of Martha Stewart always scolding about having cold dough and a hot oven. Thus I was thinking if my oven is only sem-hot (not thoroughly preheated), it is "melting" the dough instead of setting it up sufficiently. Thanks for the reminder about checking the oven -- I always mean to do that but never quite get around to it....

        1 Reply
        1. re: willownt

          You definitely want a thoroughly preheated oven! It makes a big difference in baking.

        2. Perhaps your oven is not hot enough to start. I tend to start with a 425 degree oven for the first 15 minutes of cooking to really blast the crust. then turn it down to the temp you want. It provides a crispy, flaky crust. I also use a butter/shortening combo as well as adding a Tablespoon of cider vinegar as I prep the dough. An hour to chill the dough seems too long. 30 Min should do.

          1. After I assemble my pie, I put it in the fridge to re-chill the all butter pastry crust...this helps it maintain its shape..for shortening crusts, I dont't find i have to chill the pie at all.....

            1 Reply
            1. re: sixelagogo

              I use lard in my pie crust and I put it in the frig at least a 1/2 hour before baking. and
              it comes out nice and flakey. I just made a peach cobbler and my son eat about 1/2
              of it. a 9x13x2 baking dish.