Five Steps to Perfect Piecrust Every Time
An expert baker shares her tips for crisp crust no matter what your pie filling is.
A crisp piecrust, golden brown and flaky, is one of life's great pleasures. It can be elusive when your pie is filled with loads of juicy, in-season fruit or silky custard, but it is attainable. Here are five important tricks I've learned from many years of pie-baking. They'll help you achieve a crisp crust.
Go with Glass
Tempered glass (such as Pyrex) allows heat to disperse well, which encourages more even browning and a crisper crust. It's also see-through which means you can see the color of the bottom crust while it's baking and be sure it has cooked well.
Blind Baking Is Key
To blind bake a chilled pie crust simply line it with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. After about 20 minutes at 375°F carefully remove the parchment and the weights. At this point you can add your filling and finish baking the pie or return it to the oven empty and cook it completely. Blind baking the crust gives it time to firm up before a wet filling can make it soggy.
Lose Some Liquid
For really juicy fruit, like strawberries or sour cherries, I like to remove some of the liquid before the fruit goes into the pie. Precook the filling on the stovetop or in the oven until some of the excess liquid evaporates away. Or, toss chopped fresh fruit with some sugar and set it to macerate in a strainer over a bowl. You can either cook the excess liquid down and add it back to the pie filling or use it in your next cocktail!
Build a Barrier
Create a wall between the wet filling and the crisp crust. Apply a thin coat of lightly beaten egg white to a baked crust and return it to the oven for a minute or two to set. Or brush it over an unbaked, chilled crust before filling and baking the pie. Either way the proteins from the cooked egg white will make a barrier. Melted chocolate also works well! Apply it to a completely cooked crust and let it cool and harden before adding the filling.
Use a Pizza Stone or Baking Sheet
A heated pizza stone is great for getting a nice crispy bottom on a pie. If you don't have one, use a preheated baking sheet. Not only will your crust brown more evenly, but the sheet will catch any spills before they make a mess on the bottom of your oven!