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Pls help me troubleshoot my crust?

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OK so pie and tart crust is something I've never tried to master as much as I love pie.

I have tons of leftover ham and before I froze most of it off for future sandwiches I thought I'd make a quiche tonight...and thought I'd try making the crust myself this time around.

I used Madeline Kamman's(New Making of a Cook) Basic Short Pastry recipe. Butter straight out of the fridge. water ice cold. Used the food processor but stopped as soon as it was starting to come together, before it balled.

Formed it in a round, wrapped in saran, put it in fridge and left for work.

Came home this afternoon. Rolled it out with no problem. Put it in a fluted tart pan(removable bottom). Put back in fridge for 40 minutes.

Put a piece of parchment on top....filled with pie weights. Baked in convection oven at 325 for about 25 minutes.

My problem is that it shrank, a lot. the texture was pretty flaky but it shrank both in diameter and in depth...so much so we had very little custard in our quiche.

So....what causes this? I thought the key was to rest in the fridge again after rolling? Does it need to be longer or? Oven temp?

many thanks for any input!

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  1. We've been having quite a conversation about this at the church. One of my church ladies, who is an excellent cook, says she has the same problem with empty crusts shrinking when baked. The consensus among the other ladies is that she might be "stretching" the crust in the course of putting it into the pan.

    When I bake an empty pie crust I poke it all over with a fork, bottom and sides. I've never had one shrink on me...but then, I don't do it all that often.

    1. This is kind of strange. Shrinkage in blind baking is usually caused by improper chilling of the pastry prior to baking, overhandling or stretching the dough and/or baking at too high a temperature (over 350). Sometimes using a glass, ceramic or non-stick surface can also contribute to this and docking the dough also helps to alleviate shrinkage. But it sounds like you did everything right! I'm thinking perhaps too much liquid in the recipe. Perhaps you may want to try another pate brisee.

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      1. Too much moisture. Try mixing your dough with less liquid. It's harder to handle that way, but will shrink less.

        1. you might want to look into the CI pie crust recipe with vodka. They use a fair amount of vodka as the liquid so the crust is easy to roll out, but the alcohol evaporates when baked so the crust is tender and flaky.

          Here's a link to the discussion http://www.chow.com/grinder/3925

          1. Hmm...too much liquid. That could be it. Since there's only two of us I made half the recipe and used an 8 inch pan. The original recipe is 3-4 tblsp water and I did put in 2 before realizing I shoudl have started with just 1 1/2. I"m in the desert and I guess I hoped that it's so dry here the extra 1/2 wouldn't throw things off.

            I was really bummed when I took it out...I thought I'd done everything just right. oopsie!

            Will have to try again very soon. I've decided it's time to master crusts! :-)

            Thanks for the input!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ziggylu

              Another suggestion - next time make the whole recipe and freeze the extra. When you want to use it thaw it in refrigerator the day before. It's a great thing to have around when time is tight, but you need a pie.