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Should I use pie dough or puff pastry for the crust on pot pie?

I finally got some 16.9 ounce corningware ramekins. I wanted them to make chicken pot pies.. well various pot pies. Got a great deal on em, too (5 for $7). Never pay retail!

I have seen recipes using puff pastry. I assume to keep from scaring people that don't make pie dough (that would be me).

I have, also, seen recipes that use a pie dough. What are your recommendations?

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  1. IMO, it really depends on what you're making. The puff pastry would hold up under light and airy pies (e.g. meringues, mousse, etc.), but would not fair as well with heavier fillings like pot pies because of it's delicate nature.

    13 Replies
    1. re: sheilal

      Puff pastry should work fine on top of a pot pie - regardless of the filling.

      Pie crust would be the usual choice for an American home cook. Puff pastry is something that an upscale restaurant would use to add some class to comfort food. If you aren't very good at making pie crust, you could use the store bought version of either.

      1. re: paulj

        Agreed, it is up to your preference. However, because store-bought puff pastry is such a higher quality compared to store-bought crust, if you're not making the crust yourself, I recommend doing puff pastry to start.

        Of course, you can also do a biscuit topping! And realize you don't have to commit to either. Try one and if you don't like it, try the other.

        1. re: katecm

          I am not sure I agree with you about store-bought pastry being better than store bought pie crust. I got some frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry recently and thought it was horrible. It's pretty difficult to find any all-butter puff pastry in stores anymore.

          In general, I've been satisfied with prepared pie crusts, although homemade is better.

          1. re: ChristinaMason

            If you ever get to Trader Joes: their pie crust and their puff pastry are the best I've ever had premade.

            I used to do puff pastry but it's sort of messy afterwards, crumbs everywhere. Started using pie crust and like it better just for that reason. My husband HAS to have top and bottom crust, no matter how small the dish.

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              I was thinking that this is one use where Peppreridge Farm would be the least horrible. If I couldn't get the intermediate priced Trader Joes version, I'd rather experiment with PF than a much more expensive brand from Whole-Paycheck. Once I had the mechanics down, the more expensive version might be worth it - for guests.

              1. re: paulj

                How much mechanics is there in making a chicken pot pie and topping it w/ puff pastry? I agree w/ ChristinaMason about Pepperidge Farm pp.

                1. re: chowser

                  To me, it was greasy, salty, and just plain bad. Plus, loaded with vegetable shortening. Yech.

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    Such a difference between shortening (zero trans fat or not) and butter in pastry dough. I am very careful buying pastries at bakeries now, so disappointing when it's not the real thing. And Pepperidge Farm, I don't know but guessing you might be better off with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, butter or not.

              2. re: ChristinaMason

                I agree with you that P.F. puff pastry is not good. Dufour is excellent, expensive and buttery, i.e. real butter and no shortening (which makes it good, in my opinion).

          2. re: sheilal

            Regional interpretations of pot pie may vary. When ramekins are used, there is no bottom crust, just a round of dough placed atop the precooked filling and baked off. So it's a matter of choice - pie dough, puff pastry, phyllo, biscuit.... If a slope-sided pan is used, it's a two-crust pie made with pie dough.

            1. re: greygarious

              Yeah without the bottom crust, there is going to be a whole lot more of the good stuff. Hopefully, I should be able to make a better product than Marie Callendars. Before you laugh, be aware that Marie puts out a pretty good pot pie. They are one of my emergency back ups.

              1. re: Hank Hanover

                I recall from TV (probably FN) that an upscale Virginia restaurant wrapped the top of the baking dish with puff pastry. When turned out, the pastry itself formed a bowl.

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  I like both the Marie Callender and Boston Market two-crust pot pies, save for the sodium levels. And I have to admit to liking the KFC version, although it is too salty and needs peas and carrots. It's got lots of chicken and a tasty if fatty crust. Also good is Costco's, which are 12" diameter two-crust refrigerated monsters you bake at home. Being made from their rotisserie chickens, it, too, is loaded with salt.

            2. We actually prefer a biscuit crust. Works well with the gravy.

              I mix up the dough and just pat it out to a diameter about 2" smaller than the container I'm using. I bake it for 5 minutes directly on my baking stone to set the bottom crust, then I use a giant spatula (such as this one: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i... ) to transfer it to the top of the casserole holding the hot pot pie mixture and bake until the top is cooked and the contents bubbly.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rainey

                Totally agree with biscuit dough.

                Second choice would be pie crust.

                I just don't think puff pastry is generally substantial enough (in terms of mouthfeel) to counterbalance the heartiness of the pot pie filling. It would be sort of like making a meatball sub with a croissant.

                1. re: rainey

                  Me three -- biscuit dough FTW! And use buttermilk.

                2. Both are good but if you're buying puff pastry, I would be picky about the one you use. For something quick and easy, I like cornbread topping on mine. But, if your goal is to maximize filling, then that's not the route to take.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    While I prefer the all butter version (e.g. Trader Joes), I'd be inclined to use to use the least expensive version while experimenting. Since it will be eaten hot with a fairly robust flavored filling, the difference in shortening will not be very noticeable.

                    1. re: paulj

                      It's not just the shortening but the overall taste. If you're experimenting, why use a product that doesn't taste as good, if your purpose is to make a comparison? I guess if the OP were to use Pillsbury dough from a can, then he could compare the cheapest version of puff pastry. If he's looking of the best overall product, use the best overall ingredients.

                      1. re: paulj

                        I don't think TJ's sells their puff pastry anymore. It was a seasonal item and the last two Christmases it has not been in stock. A few months ago I asked about it and they told me the word they had gotten was that it was discontinued.

                        1. re: decolady

                          I asked and was told there wasn't enough demand. I would make special trips to TJ's for their puff pastry.:-(

                          1. re: chowser

                            Me too. I wish I had stocked up when I had the chance. 4 boxes did not last all that long!

                    2. I made chicken pot pie this evening and topped it with biscuits. Cooks Illustrated in its current issue has a recipe that uses a kind of crumble on top. I prefer puff pastry, but our guys seem to like the biscuit dough better.

                      1. jfood uses the frozen puff pastry for his CPP.

                        And here is his little secret trick. he bakes the crust on a separate cookie sheet. then when he serves he places the pastry on top of the cpp. It stays much crispier that way and no soggy bottom.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: jfood

                          Isn't that dangerously close to a bowl of soup and a big cracker?

                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            you can call it a pumpkin lollipop and jfood will still love it. :-)

                          2. re: jfood

                            That is exactly what I do, j, and it works a treat!

                          3. For you biscuit topping fans, Do you think I could take a canned biscuit and squash it out until it filled the top of my ramekins? My ramekins are about 5 inches in diameter. I guess I could squeeze 2 in there somehow and wouldn't have to compress them.

                            Of course if I did that, I would be destroying all those layers wouldn't I?

                            Just a thought.

                            I am inherently lazy so I am leaning toward the puff pastry.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                              Some folks just lay round biscuits on as they are and let the gravy bubble up around them. But, personally, I'd use a baking mix to make my own before I'd use canned. I think it's just baking mix and milk. What could be easier?

                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                If I use biscuits, to cover the top better I often cut them in half or whatever and do a jigsaw puzzle thing. I don't think I'd squish them.

                                I also generally split them horizontally (between layers) or they don't want to get done.

                                1. re: snippet

                                  Another trick I use when doing pot pies with biscuits is that I put the casserole with just the filling into the oven and let it get bubbly. Then I put on the biscuit dough and return the whole thing to the oven. This helps the biscuits cook all the way through. I think I learned this trick from Cooks Illustrated -- it was originally with a blueberry cobbler recipe.

                                2. re: Hank Hanover

                                  See jfood's PP technique -- I do the same thing with biscuit topping for pot pies.

                                3. I use regular pastry, puff pastry and biscuit dough as topping for chicken pot pie. Depends on what kind of mood I'm in and what I feel like making at the moment. All three are good. I have also been known to be cutesy and cut the biscuit dough with a chicken shaped cookie cutter to top the pot pies.

                                  1. Are going to be freezing these? I like using puff pastry, but most times when eating them right away, I really like topping with mashed potatoes.