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Advice wanted about my pie disaster

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I make pies well enough to make me feel proud. Today I made a coconut custard pie. I used the recipe on the Eagle Brand Condensed Milk site: http://www.eaglebrand.com/recipes/det... Their recipe doesn't include a recipe for pie crust, so I used one of my own. It called for a combination of butter & Crisco for the fat. This was my first time blind baking a pie crust. I used dried beans to hold the crust down after I got it in my pie pan. I baked it 8 minutes as instructed. When I pulled it out I discovered the crust had 'shrunk' and collapsed. The sides were laying on the bottom, partially baked. I managed to slip a lightweight cardboard all around the inside edge to hold the droopy sides up, then added the custard. I finished baking it. The pie tastes lousy. Far sweeter than I wanted & WAY too much coconut. I'm not going to attempt this again soon... maybe not at all in my lifetime. But I was curious about the problem I had blind baking that crust. Can anyone tell me what I did wrong?

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  1. Was the crust COLD (like, almost frozen) when you put it in the oven? Does your pie pan have sloped sides, or are they almost vertical? Vertical sides tend to slump, as does dough that isn't really cold when it goes in the oven. There are other issues that can contribute to shrinkage as well - what was your pie crust recipe and method?

    4 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      It should BE frozen when it goes into the oven. Jacques Pepin's method is to put the dough into the pan, then place an identical pan atop the dough, sandwiching it between the two pans. Invert the sandwich and bake it that way, on a middle rack, so gravity keeps the sides in place. On the rack below it, lay a sheet of aluminum foil in case of drips.

      1. re: biondanonima

        The fats & water were in the freezer before mixing. I chilled the flour in the fridge. I mixed everything together, wrapped in plastic & chilled it overnight. I have a marble pin which I chilled then rolled the chilled dough. The pie pan I used has almost vertical sides. After getting the dough in the pan I immediately baked it (no chilling before it was in the oven). I used this pie crust recipe which I found here on Chowhound: http://www.chow.com/recipes/30174-fla...

        1. re: i_am_Lois

          I have recently finally bought the ceramic pie weights which I use with parchment. They really do work much better than the beans or rice that I used to use.

          1. re: i_am_Lois

            Yeah, the vertical sided pie pans are always a problem. You definitely want to chill the dough (or freeze it) again after it's in the pan, too, especially when using a pan with vertical sides. The recipe itself looks fine so I doubt there was any problem there.

        2. Been there! I now freeze the crust in the pie plate before it goes in the oven (20 minutes is usually enough). The colder dough shrinks less. Also, stretching instead of easing the dough into the pan can be a culprit...did that a few times when I first started blind baking crusts, without even realizing I was stretching. :)

          1. This is the crust recipe I used recently, with good results, although I didn't blind bake it.

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/as...

            1. This recent thread has lots of good advice on blind baking: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/921689

              1. I usually dock my pie crust when blind baking. Sounds like you may have handled the pastry too much, and over-warmed the dough.

                2 Replies
                1. re: letsindulge

                  Just a comment about the filling: when using condensed milk for Vietnamese coffee or any type of baking, I look for a brand that has far less sugar than Eagle Brand, which to me, is way too sweet. They often contain less than half the sugar of Eagle. I look for brands that contain 11 grams of sugar per serving. Eagle is over 20 grams. That might have

                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                    I assumed they were identical sugar content. Thanks for the heads up.

                2. When you blind bake a crust, to support the sides, you really need to fill the parchment-lined crust with beans. Just a layer on the bottom won't do the trick. I wish I could remember which chef to give credit to for this tip. It works well.

                  It's also possible that you didn't blind bake it with the liner in place long enough to set up the crust. I've often had to leave the lined crust in for a few minutes longer than a recipe instructed.

                  Another thing you should try for vertical pans/rings (works well for me) is to let the extra dough hang over the pie pan as it blind bakes, then trim it off after. This will anchor the crust and keep it from falling on itself. A number of pastry chefs use this technique, especially for larger tarts and quiches.

                  Good luck!