Pie Crusts- Troubleshooting for Pastry Making
A guide to common problems in pastry making and how to fix or avoid these.
A pie can be a great family tea to make as it is relatively quick simple, can be made as either a savoury or a sweet course, has a limitless number of potential fillings and can be made in excess and stored in the freezer for tea on another day. However, some people are tentative about making a pie, either because they believe that you must have the skill of a master pastry chef, or because they have had a previous bad experience of making a pie that hasn’t turned out as hoped and this has prevented any further efforts. Firstly, to make a basic pie crust requires very little skill and secondly, any previous problems that have been encountered are easy to troubleshoot or avoid altogether so people should not fear making this very simple dish.
-A basic pie crust
The first essential issue to deal with when making a pie is to get the pastry right. A basic short crust pastry is easy to make, and provided that the pastry is achieved to a reasonable standard, the rest should come easily. A basic recipe to use is as follows:
8oz plain flour
4oz fat (equal amounts of margarine and lard give a good flavour and consistency)
Water to bind
Salt to taste in a savoury pie or 1oz caster sugar for a sweet pie
Simply crumb the flour and fat together and add either salt or sugar. Add water a little at a time to bind the pastry together until firm dough is achieved.
-Pastry that sticks to the rolling pin or to the work surface.
This is a common problem that can easily be remedied. Simply cover your work surface and rolling pin with a light coating of flour to prevent the pastry from sticking. Another possibility that is causing the sticking is that the pastry dough is too wet. Simply add a little extra flour to the pastry dough.
-Pastry that cracks.
It is normal for pastry to crack around the edges a little when rolling. However, if your pastry is cracking excessively and this is causing problems when rolling, then it is likely that your pastry dough is too dry. Simply add a little extra water to the mix.
-A crust that is too pale.
There are too reasons why your crust may not be the perfect t golden colour that you desire. Firstly, it may be undercooked. This is easily remedied by returning your pie to the oven for an extra five minutes. Secondly, you may not have glazed your pie. Glazing is really simple to do and will make your pie look more appetizing and give a smooth texture to the top. Either whisk an egg or pour some milk into a cup. Use a pastry brush to cover your pie crust with either egg or milk.
-Pastry lids opening.
If your pastry lid is not secure and juices from the pie have leaked out, it is likely that you did not seal the lid properly prior to baking. When fitting the base of the pie into the pie tin, leave the excess pastry hanging over the edges. Scores the edges of the pastry with a knife, being careful not to cut the whole way through. Add the filling. Brush round the edges of the base with either milk or whisked egg (this can also be used for a glaze later). Position the lid and push all around the edge with a fork or knife handle to secure to the base. This also adds a nice pattern around the edge of your pie. Cut off the excess pastry using a downward motion with the knife as this will help to further seal your pie.