Lakeview Farms

Pie Shells

Pie Shell

Helpful Hints

BASIC PIE DOUGH

For a one-crust, 9-inch pie, use the recipe below. For a double-crust, 9-inch, or a single-crust pie with a generous lattice, use the following:

Sift, then measure: 2 cups all-purpose flour Resift it with 1 teaspoon salt. Measure and combine:1/3 cup shortening, 1/3 cup chilled butter or use in all 2/3 cup shortening. Cut of the shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, see below, or work it in lightly with the tips of your fingers until it has the grain of cornmeal. Cut the remaining half coarsely into the dough until it is pea size. Sprinkle the dough with: 5 tablespoons water. Blend the water lightly into the dough. You may lift the ingredients with a fork, allowing the moisture to spread. If needed, add just enough water to hold ingredients together. When you can gather the dough up into a tidy ball, as shown below, stop handling it.

ROLLING PIE DOUGH

To make 2 pie shells, divide the dough evenly before rolling it. To make a double crust pie, divide the dough into 2 slightly uneven parts, keeping the smaller one for the top. A pastry cloth and roller stocking are highly recommended. They practically do away with sticking and require the use of very little additional flour. Rolling the dough between 2 sheets of foil or wax paper, although more difficult, also avoids adding unwanted flour. When ready, remove the top paper, reverse the crust into pan and then remove the other paper.

If you use neither of the above methods, flour the rolling surface and the rolling pin lightly. As to the roller, whether it's a French broomstick-type or a bottle, the important thing is how you use it. Roll the dough from the center out. Lift the roller, Do not push it to and fro, stretching the dough. Roll the dough to at least a 1/8 inch thickness or less. Should it have a few tears, patch them carefully rather than trying to reroll.

CUTTING AND FORMING PIE DOUGH

To cut pie dough, allow a piece about 2 inches larger than the pan dimensions to take care of inevitable shrinkage. It is fun to cut fancy edges with a pastry wheel.

To form the crust, have ready a 9-inch pie pan. It's a poor pie crust that requires a greased pan, but buttering will help brown the bottom of the crust. Loosen the pastry from the board, fold it in half, lift it, lay the fold across the center of the pan and unfold it; or, after rolling it around the rolling pin, unroll it onto the pan. 

Ease the dough into the pan loosely, but firm it in place so that no air will be left between dough and pan to form blisters in baking. You may cut a small square of dough, form it into a ball, dip it in flour and use it to press the dough down and shape it against the pan. Trim off the excess with a knife, using an easy slashing motion against the edge of the pan; or use scissors. Trimmings can be given to the children for play dough or baked up into bits for hors d'oeuvre or small pastries.

FILLED PIES

For filled pies, use a deep pie pan with a wide channeled rim to catch any juices. For a one-crust pie, make a fluted edge with the dough that laps over, or build up a rim with a strip of pastry. Full it on. Use a fork to press it down or pinch it with the thumb and forefinger, as shown below on the left. This edge is important, as it will help to hold the juices in the pie. Do not prick the lower crust. If the filling for the pie is to be juicy, first brush the bottom crust lightly with the white of an egg, melted butter or a solution of gum arabic. Any of these will keep the crust from becoming soggy. Putting the filling in very hot helps, too.

There are many attractive ways to make the lattice. You may cut plain -inch strips with a knife or pink them with a jagger. Or you may roll, then twist inch rope-like pieces and weave any of these together or place them crisscross.

To weave, place the strips from left to right over the pie about 3/4 inch apart. Fold back every other strip half-way.  Place a strip across the unfolded strips from front to back. Unfold the strips. Fold back the alternates. Place the next strip 3/4 inch from the last. Continue until the pie is latticed. Then, repeat the process, beginning on the other side of the center line.

When the whole pie is latticed, attach the strips to the pie edge loosely to allow for shrinkage. Moisten the ends slightly to make them stick. Cut them off before crimping the pie.

For a solid top crust, cut the rolled 1/8 inch-thick dough I inch larger than the pan. To allow the steam to escape, prick it with a fork in several places, double it over and gash it along the fold or make fancy patterns with whatever cutting tool you like. Place the top crust on the pie. Full in the surplus dough and press it down around the edges with a fork. Or you may tuck it under the lower crust and press it around the edge with a fork, or cut the lower crust inch larger than the upper crust and fold it over like a hem. 0 Allow 4 cups of filling for a 9-inch pie and 3 cups for a 7-inch, pie. If you prefer, after sealing the edges by pressing with a fork, you may make a vent with a one-inch hollow tube of dough--3 inches high -- only partially sunk into a hole in the center of the upper crust. Support it with a round border of fulled on dough which will bide any discoloration from juices bubbling over when you cut the vent down to the decorative support after the baking. Should any juice spill over onto the oven, sprinkle it with salt to prevent smoke and smell.

Be sure to thicken acid fruits with tapioca, cornstarch or arrowroot as suggested -in the recipes, because the acidity of the fruit may neutralize the thickening power of the flour.

UNFILLED PIE SHELLS

If the pie shell is to be baked unfilled, prick the dough generously with a fork after you have placed it in the pie pan, or weight the bottom of the shell with dry rice, beans, or, as they do in France use small clean round pebbles. This keeps it from heaving and baking unevenly. Remove the beans or pebbles a few minutes before the oven period is over. To cut a round for a prebaked top crust, prick it and bake it on a baking sheet.

When making individual pies, use an inverted muffin tin or, for deeper shells, inverted custard cups. Cut the rounds of dough 4 or 5 inches in diameter and fit them over the cups or, with the help of foil as a support, create your own fancy shapes-fluted cups, simple tricornes, long barquettes. You may even make our tarts into baskets by forming handles with strips of dough molded over inverted custard cups. When baked, sink the handles into the filling just before serving. Prick shells before baking. When you fill baked shells, spoon the filling in carefully.

To protect a baked crust from over browning when heating a filling in it, put the pie, still in its pan, into an extra pan to keep it from too much heat.

To glaze pie crust, choose one of the glazes which add  flavor  to your pie, but they also tend to toughen crusts.

Baking time will vary according to the material of which the pan is made. If it is ovenproof glass or enamelware, cut the baking time indicated by 20 to 25%.  When tins are used, those that are perforated, have lost their shininess or have a base of screen material are helpful for producing a well-browned crust.

It is essential that the oven be preheated to the temperatures indicated in the recipes. For baking filled pies, note directions in each recipe. Unbaked shells, whether for individual or big pies, are baked in a preheated oven 450 degrees for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

FLOUR PASTE PIE CRUST

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sift, then measure: 2 cups all-purpose flour. Resift it into a bowl with: 1 teaspoon salt. Measure 1/3 cupful of this mixture and place it in a small bowl or cup. Stir into it, to form a smooth paste: 1/4 cup water. Cut into the flour mixture in the first bowl, with a pastry blender, until the grain in it is the size of small peas: 2/3 cup shortening at room temperature. Stir the flour paste into the dough. Work it with your hand until it is well incorporated and the dough forms a ball.

A 9-Inch Single Crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Sift, then measure 1 cups all-purpose flour.  Resift it into a bowl with: 1/2 teaspoon salt With a pastry blender, work in: cup shortening (at room temperature) until the grain in the mixture is pea size. Stir in (1 tablespoon at a time) 3 tablespoons water until the mixture holds together when you gather it into a ball. Pat it evenly into the pie pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes and cool before filling.