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Apr 23, 2012 04:15 PM

Why Prebake a Tart or Piecrust shell?

I'm trying to dope out the reasoning behind prebaking a pie/tart shell.

I've made fruit filled galettes (sp?) in the past with no prebaking; items came out fine, no soggy bottoms to speak of. I'm planning a savory tart with aged goat cheese on the bottom, followed with a leek confit, and more goat cheese on the top. Recipe says prebake the shell. OK...that adds a frickin' 25 minutes to the process, then add cooling time, then bake again...for forty minutes? Biggest risk is the tart crust getting overdone, but otherwise...

why prebake? Only reason I can think of is to make sure the bottom is crisp and will hold up to the soggy contents. Otherwise...?

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  1. The point of prebaking is to avoid an undercooked shell or overcooked filling. How trustworthy is the source of the recipe?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Got the recipe off of Epicurious and was originally in Bon Appetit. As I've said, fruit-based, simple galettes and tarts have come out fine sans pre-baking. One poster elsewhere suggested that a layer of egg white along the crust would prevent any bleeding of juices, though I suspect that with a layer of goat cheese, leek confit, and more goat cheese, leaking leek won't be a problem. Still--

      1. re: chrisjuricich

        This one?

        Given the rave reviews, I'd be tempted to try it by the book, though 50-55 minutes at 375°F to prebake the crust plus 35-40 to cook the filling seems like an awfully long time.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Yes, that's the one. Actual cooking time was really not much more than 30 minutes as I look at my notes--about 20 at the 425 and the remaining 10-12 minutes at 375.

          1. re: chrisjuricich

            Seems like the crust would probably be different if you'd followed the original recipe and pre-baked it for 50 minutes.

            The recipe says 375, so the 30-40 cooking time for the filling would probably be right.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Yah, if I'd followed the directions I'd have had an overdone crust for sure. I realize that baking needs to be more exact than not, but even if a recipe isn't followed slavishly, when one has a tad of experience you can, if not break the rules, at least find new rules. If I had a nickel for every popover recipe I've tried that had different amounts of flour to butter to temperature, well...I'd have at least a dozen nickels.

              Point is-- pre baking probably makes as much sense to do as not to do, depending on a pie or tart's actual filling. I get the fear of sogginess which is a real concern if using really wet, sloppy fruit.

              I have a chocolate hazelnut tart in a pressed chocolate dough that I'd never risk NOT prebaking! But in this case, Betty Crocker must have been smiling on me.

              Come on over for a slice!

            2. re: chrisjuricich

              I can't speak to what acid does to the mix when creating a crust, but when I create a standard butter and lard crust, I parbake for 20 minutes at 425 to seal the crust. The crust as given may have meant to be a little dryer firmer with the long baking time. But your American pie baker's crust probably hurt no one's feelings. I'd be interested to check on the crust turns out with their directions. I accidentally set my most recent pie crust at 375 for 10 minutes before setting it at 425 for 15 minutes or so and 375 until the custard cooked through. The lip and sides are great, but not very flaky and the crust still came out soft.

      2. I never used to prebake pie crusts, but then took a pastry class. The chef said to always pre-bake. I have since then and my crusts are crispier and just all around better tasting. I bought a cheap crust protector also, so the rim doesn't get too browned during all of the baking.

        I don't pre-bake galettes because the crust sits on parchment paper, which is on top of my half sheet pan. I believe the heat from the half sheet pan is hotter than the inside of the a pie plate.

        1. "is to make sure the bottom is crisp and will hold up to the soggy contents." That is the reason.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefj

            Yep, that's the reason. I hope chefj would agree with this point of view. Can you get away without pre-baking? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends on the filling and how it 's handled. I don't see any reason to risk ruining an otherwise wonderful creation by avoiding the pre-bake.

            1. re: todao

              Just to report; I slathered the bottom of the unbaked shell with some egg white, turned up the heat to 425 or so for about 15 minutes, then turned it down to 375, covered the rapidly browning art with foil, and in about 30 minutes I had a perfectly delicious savory tart.

              Shell was crisp, interiors was cooked and!