Where did I go wrong?

lizbeth-gardenerSeptember 13, 2013

I have always been able to make a pretty and tasty pie crust, but the thought of a better anything always tempts me, so....I saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen for what is supposed to be a superior/preferred/flakier butter crust to my shortening crust and I was on a mission for the best!

I made the pastry for one pie and because it was so simple, I made two more double crusts and refrigerated for about six hours. I then proceeded to make one pie using a frozen peach filling. I rolled the pastry very easily and quickly, so as not to let the butter particles melt, put the frozen pie shaped filling in the bottom crust added a Tbls. butter chopped in small pieces to top of filling, added the top crust, brushed with milk and sprinkled with sugar (as usual) baked on bottom shelf at 400 degrees(pre-heated) for about 50-60 minutes. The filling is delicious, but the crust is a big disappointment. I'm not sure how to describe, maybe shiny, transparent, too thin (I did end up with extra dough)not tasty. Usually the crust is so good it really enhances the filling.

I want to figure out where I went wrong, so I know whether to pitch the other two crusts or gamble on wasting good filling on a mediocre pie.

The only possibilities that occur to me are: Did I roll too thin? Should I have baked in a hotter oven? Or on the middle rack? Did the frozen filling affect the outcome?What am I missing?

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It's quite possible you didn't do anything wrong. It's entirely possible that you are accustomed to your normal pie crust and instinctively prefer it's taste, texture, etc. You sound like an experienced baker so I really doubt it was your skill level.

I've just experienced something similar to what I suggested above with gravy. In my early years, I made gravy using a browned flour. Switched to a roux in my early 30s and have been using it ever since. I tried the brown flour gravy yesterday as a fond memory. The color was beautiful, much better than roux, but the taste was not good to my palate. I'm sticking with roux.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 5:05PM
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I'm a crud at crust for anything and do not know why. My husband made and makes incredible crust dough always and i said so again a few weeks ago and he cried he was so happy...haha.
He choked up and i laughed, haha. (i felt bad for a minute)
How come some can make it so good? He is a brute cowboy and makes pie crust?
Maybe i will ask him to explain the process...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 5:22PM
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I wonder if the extra moisture in the frozen filling steamed the dough? I'd roll out some of the dough and bake on a cookie sheet to see how it comes out. If it's good then you'll know there was something amiss in the timing or temp. If you still don't like it as pastry, then you'll know to not waste your filling. Maybe bake it in pieces on a cookie sheet with cinnamon sugar for a cookie treat.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 5:31PM
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olychick, that's a good idea. My mother loves pie pastry just baked with cinnamon and sugar, and that would be a great way to find out if it's the pastry or the filling without wasting perfectly good pastry.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Tricae: I wish that were the case, but this was just bad! I agree with you on the roux.

Sleevendog: I'm envious of you having a husband who makes pie dough/crust!

Olychick: I took your suggestion and baked the cinnamon/sugar crust treat and it was just terribly greasy. The butter was to have been left in pea size pieces, so it would melt during baking and leave pockets of flakiness. I think mine might have been too large, so after the first treat I massaged a second crust to make pieces smaller and it was a bit better, but still so bad/greasy it went in the trash. At least that saved me from wasting a good filling! Think I may just stick to my shortening crust!

Annie: My kids/GK, both big and small love the cinnamon sugar pie dough treat!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Lizbeth, do you always bake with your filling still in the frozen state? I was thinking maybe too much steam was generated from the ice crystals in the frozen peach pie filling?

I read where many bakers are now using half butter/half shortening in making pie crust: the shortening for how it performs and the butter for the taste.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:09PM
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No, I don't Teresa, but I put up a lug of peaches by making the filling and putting in pie pans till frozen, then removing and wrapping for freezer storage. I haven't tried one yet in a shortening crust, but the fact that the crust was so horrible when I tried it just putting on butter, cinnamon and sugar, makes me think it was not the filling. If anything, I probably needed to work the butter to a finer crumb then I did. I do think if I try something different again it will be 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter or lard.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Hmm. Don't know. That is exactly the recipe we use. SmittenK 102. DH has been making crust since a child. His mother taught him and it was his duty. (in order to get the results). The last one he made a few weeks ago for a meat filling i made was perfection. To refresh his memory i showed him the Smitten recipe and he said it was the way he has always made crust.
I've made it and it is fine but not outstanding. I do remember that the filling and crust were the same temperature when assembled, and back in the fridge while the oven came to temp.

-When his mother visited and offered to make crust, and a few extra for the freezer, it was not so good and she agreed. I can only guess it is the final prep moments when bringing the dough together quickly and not overworking. And the butter cut in a bit smaller than one would think.

Here is a link that might be useful: pie crust 102

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 6:15AM
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For a double crust recipe, I use 1/2 cup lard and 1/4 cup butter. The butter does make it more flavourful, but it's the lard that contributes the flakiness. I also use a food processor to mix it up, only takes about 6 seconds total. The times I've done it by hand have resulted in a hit or miss experience. It always seems to turn out in the food processor. I also use a bit of lemon juice with the ice water.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:34PM
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This thread is a few months old, but I was looking for lard and butter measurements. I read that it should be 25% lard, so I used 3/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup lard.

Reading DonnainSask, she says the opposite. I used Ina's Crostata recipe which is how I usually make apple pies, but I wanted to do a double crust.

I didn't bother with the food processor, and I usually do, so I'm hoping my pie turns out!

If I can only roll in a circle. My crusts usually resemble North America, never round.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:08PM
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My pie turned out, it's very good!
After it was made, I read to roll the dough in one direction only, not back and forth. Roll to the edge, raise the pin, and roll out again. I'll have to remember to do that next time (wishful thinking, to be sure).

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:41PM
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jasdip, I was sure it would be good!

As for rolling, if I get it in the pan in one piece, that's all that counts. I've tried rolling back and forth, I've tried rolling in one direction. I've tried starting from the middle and working out, turning the crust as I go. I've tried picking it up to lay in the pan, rolling it around my pin, folding it into quarters and unfolding in the pan.

Somehow they all result in the pastry ending up in the pan and getting baked, LOL. If it's a bottom crust, patches don't show, if it's on the top, a few fancy leaves or designs cut from scraps will cover a lot. (grin) And it always gets eaten.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Ah, I knew I could count on you Annie!!! Your pastry skills and mine are the same!! LOL. If it gets to the pie-plate at all without tearing, that's a feat on its own. Some places thicker than others with patches. haha.

I've come to the conclusion that I over-think some things....the pie crust being one of them. I'm cooking for two, and neither of us is a picky eater (except for hubby and mushrooms and eggs). No allergies, etc. I'm not entering cooking contests.

He's yet to not eat anything I make, and 9 times out of 10 raves about his dinner. The pie was no exception. So if I roll one direction, back and forth, use more butter than lard or vice-versa, I think it will turn out, and will get eaten!

This post was edited by jasdip on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 9:42

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:00AM
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