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Nov 24, 2012 12:36 PM

piecrust--epic fail!

Mercifully, I had made an all-butter crust at my own house before visiting the in-laws for T-day. I used Shirley Corriher's baking upside down blind method. Took it along but planned to see if I couldn't do better at in-laws. There, I tried King Arthur's recipe (part butter/part shortening) and the same bake upside-down method. When I went to unmold and set rightside-up, the crust was so underdone that it stuck to the parchment to the point I just had to throw it out. :( Thank goodness I had made the trial one at our house the night before!

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  1. If it was underdone, the first thing I suggest is check the oven temperature. It is surprising how much oven temps can vary.

    1. I do not use the upside down method and always make all butter pie crusts. I do add about 1/8th to 1/4 tsp. of Rumford baking powder (it has the highest CO2 yield of all baking powders) to the flour and salt and gives it more flakiness. Secondly I do allow the dough to rest before rolling and after rolling I fit the crust into the pie plate and refrigerate it again for an hour or so, letting it rest after rolling. I rarely have any shrinkage when blind baking. Also try not to stretch the dough. Roll from the center out, not back and forth, fit it gently into the pan, not pulling at it, and then as I said, let it rest and chill before blind baking.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Good stuff here, especially about not stretching the dough when rolling. I've never added baking powder to piecrust though. Interesting..

          1. re: Candy

            That's an interesting idea, to add baking powder - might give it a whirl. Otherwise, I follow all these steps too, and my all-butter crusts are easy to work with and I have very little shrinkage. This year, my daughter (9) did all of the crust-rolling, and was infuriated that I kept correcting her to roll from the middle outward . . . but her crusts were gorgeous & flaky and not overworked - she's coming around to my ways!


          2. Not sure what went wrong with yours, but I've never had anything but success with Alton Brown's pie crust recipe for his amazing apple pie:

            I replace the shortening with more butter and use whatever alcohol I have on hand that goes best with the filling I'm using. I usually use dark rum for apple pie, grand marnier for pumpkin, etc. Cheap vodka always works if you're not sure of something better. Its easy, and if you use the tart pan he recommends, you'll have no trouble getting it into the pan rip-free. Generally, never use water for pie crust when you have alcohol available. The alcohol binds the dough together without forming the gluten that water would, so you get the flakiest pie crust you can get.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TheFormerVeg

              So you use all butter in AB's recipe? Good to know, because I don't have shortening on hand. Thanks.


            2. Thanks, folks. I also read today's pie disappointment thread. I had chilled before rolling (30 min) and frozen an hour or so before baking. Don't know about MIL's oven: it's new to her (and the lowest end possible) and she doesn't cook much any more. I could tell she was getting her back up when I asked about the oven, so didn't press it.