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Nov 25, 2009 12:37 PM

Help! CI's not so foolproof pie crust

So with a toddler and a newborn, I'm out of practice making pie crusts. And it was never "natural" for me even in the best of times.

So I opted for Cooks Illustrated Foolproof Pie crust.

Here's what went wrong:

I cooled it for all the specified times, but the crimp on the edge melted down, no design or edge. And the bottom puffed up during the partial bake, even though I weighed down.

So what's up? What is the sleep deprived fool doing wrong?


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  1. Sounds like
    A) the dough just wasn't cold enough, and
    B) you didn't dock the crust before adding the weights.

    Pie crust can be such a PITA.

    Of course, given the toddler/newborn situation, you could simply be temporarily insane. Lack of sleep can result in some pretty bizarre mistakes. (I've been there.) Good luck, and keep baking!

    1. just to clarify, pikawicca's mention of docking the crust refers to pricking it all over with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking. (you mentioned that pie crust isn't your strong suit, and not everyone is familiar with the term.)

      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        You know, I followed the directions to a T and it didn't mention anything about docking the crust. I've done it w/ single crusts in past, but wanted to go by the CI book so figured they had some reason for not pricking it. I'll stick w/ what I know in the future.

        And yes, I do plead temporary insanity.

        I'm also wondering if my oven temp could be off, will need to check that.

        1. re: sljones

          "If you stick with what you know you will never grow."
          Pie crust intended to receive thin fillings (pumpkin, etc.) are not always docked. Many of these varieties of pie don't use a pre-baked shell either so docking is never an issue under those circumstances. But when you pre-bake a pie shell without docking it requires considerably more weight to hold the bottom flat against the pie tin/plate. Sometimes a thin film of oil on the pie tin before introducing the dough and weights helps to relieve some of the surface tension between the tin and the dough to allow the steam to find its way out of the tine along the outside edges of the crust.
          That said, if you can dock your crust you're really better off.

          1. re: todao

            I dock all of my pie shells prior to blind baking, regardless of what they'll be filled with. the tiny holes always fill in, so there's no danger of leakage.