Pie crust: great on its on; filled, not so much
I have been working on improving my pie crust technique and it's paying off -- sort of.
Last week I made a sweet potato pie. After fitting the (all butter) crust into the pie pan, I rolled the scraps out and baked them with cinnamon & sugar. They baked up great -- super-flaky and light.
I par-baked (blind) the refrigerated crust before adding the filling, and it turned out somewhat soggy and certainly hard to locate and unremarkable on the bottom, with the fluted edge dry and nearly hard. A huge disappointment. I though par-baking would eliminate the sog factor.
I recently made a double crusted apple pie, whose crust wasn't bad, but seemed too thin to me. I wanted more crust.
What am I doing wrong? I truly adore pies, but this whole experience is making me want to make tarts instead. All suggestions welcome.
In case this information is useful -- I normally bake in a pyrex pan, and I keep a pizza stone in my oven almost all the time. It's a regular style gas oven. It seems to be a somewhat decent oven, but I definitely should carefully investigate things with regard to hot/cold spots and such.
With regard to thinness, I rolled out and it seemed uniform to me, except where I folded over the edge of the crust to flute it.
Depending upon where the heat source is in your oven, adjust where you put the empty piecrust, as well as the filled one... as close as possible, and preferably above the heat. I have had no trouble with soggy piecrusts since I got my Advantium, because there are halogen lights above and below and the bottom crust cooks SO well.
Have you tried the following:
1. Make sure the sides/edges of your crust do not end up thinner than the bottom of the crust when it is pressed into the pie pan before baking.
2 Dock the bottom of the crust well before blind baking it.
3 Brush the crust very lightly with an egg wash before baking. This will also keep the crust from getting soggy when you fill it.
4. Make an aluminum foil "tent" to drape over the edges of the crust while blind baking.
5. You may want to try baking the crust on a higher/lower rack, depending on the hot spots in your oven.
6. Pastry Chef trick--if you bake your crust in a metal pan and find that the bottom is still not completely cooked, you can place it on a stovetop burner or flat top and heat gently over diffused medium heat for a minute or two until it smells done.