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Pie Crust 101: Making The Perfect Pie

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Pie Crust 101 for the Perfect Pie

I learned to make pies at the knee of my maternal Nana. Not everyone had that advantage, so we created Pie Crust 101. My Nana Dora didn’t measure. Her pie crusts always came out perfectly. I’m talking serious Norman Rockwell territory.

Flaky crusts, delicious flavor, oozing pie fillings, steam emitting from the vents as the pies emerged from the oven. I don’t remember whether she cooled them on a windowsill, but let’s just imagine that she did ?.

a ball of all butter pie crust with rolling pin on floured board. Part of our Pie Crust 101 article.

Easy As Pie? It Can Be!

The truth of the matter is that making rolled pie crusts scares people. Which is funny, since there is a saying, “Easy as pie”! Many would argue that point. But maybe that’s because they never had a pie Master to learn from. Our FODMAP Everyday® Pie Crust 101 to the rescue!

a rolling pin mid-roll with pastry dough on parchment paper. Part of our Pie Crust 101 article.

I have made thousands of pies in my day and have learned a thing or two. I am here for you to have pie success! Let me be your pie muse…

pumpkin pie in a pastry crust on a cooling rack; part of our Pie Crust 101 article.

Top 10 Pie Making Tips

  • Read the Recipe! Sometimes fillings need to chill. Sometimes oven temperatures start high and get turned down at some point. Know what you are getting into.
  • Choosing Gluten-Free Flour – The majority of our pies will be gluten-free and the choice of flour makes a huge difference in your pie crust. We use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour, which contains xanthan gum. We also have some additional xanthan added to our All Butter Pie Crust recipe. All of these facts make a difference in how easy your crust will be to roll out – and how flaky it will be in the end!
  • Choose Your Pie Plate Material – We use ovenproof glass, such as Pyrex, in the Test Kitchen. I find that they conduct heat very well, I can see the browning of the crust and they provide very reliable results. As an alternative, I will occasionally use a heavy ceramic, such as the Emile Henry, but they are pricey. The Pyrex, or equivalent, are inexpensive and easy to find. I am not partial to metal pie plates and I never use disposable foil. Your choice of material will affect how heat is conducted and how well your crust bakes – and a well-baked crust is a huge part of pie enjoyment.
  • Size Counts – Use the proper size pie plate as suggested in each recipe. A 9 inch (23 cm) pie plate is not the same as a deep-dish pie plate, which is typically 9 ½ (24 cm) inches wide and also deeper; they are not interchangeable. Pie recipes are developed specifically and the filling of one might overfill or under-fill the wrong pie plate. This not only throws off visuals and baking time but also ultimately the texture and quality of the final product as well. You can see in the images below how there truly is a difference.
a 9 inch and a 9 ½ deep dish pie. Image shows the difference in height and volume
  • Prep Your Plate – We always coat our pie plates with nonstick spray for an easier time upon cutting and serving.
  • Know Your Dough! – Our All Butter Pie Crust does not need to be chilled before it is rolled out and in fact, will be much more difficult to work with if you do chill it. Again, follow directions.
  • For an alternative crust, try our Low FODMAP Cream Cheese Pie Crust. A little richer than the classic all-butter, and REALLY delectable.
  • Easy Rolling – Roll out on lightly floured parchment paper. This reduces sticking and also allows you to pick up the crust and easily transfer it to your pie plate. This hand roller, seen below, is one of our favorite tools. After you have rolled out your crust with your standard size rolling pin, it sometimes needs a little finessing. This hand-held device makes quick work of evening out the dough, helping create a nice round shape and generally is just a huge help. Trust me.
hand held wooden rolling pin on a stone backdrop
  • Hot, Hot Hot – Make sure the oven is preheated properly. Many pies need a very hot oven in order to set the crust quickly.
  • Raw, Par-Baked, Fully Baked – Individual recipes will tell you about how to proceed. Many fruit pie recipes such as our Blueberry Pie, call for raw dough. Other recipes such as our Maple Pumpkin Pie call for a partially baked crust – before the filling is added – to ensure a crisp bottom. This is called par-baking, pre-baking or blind baking. Full instructions are given in our article, Blind Baking Pie Crusts.
  • Make, Bake and Eat! – Take advantage of do-ahead steps as many pies are best served as close to baking time as possible.

Now go into the kitchen and master that pie crust!

We wish you flaky success and are here for you with any questions.

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