Recipes for the Home Chef


Pie Making Advice

Although you think you have followed directions very carefully for making your pie, it may not turn out as expected. This is not a matter of chance but is caused by something you did or failed to do during the preparation or baking. Study the following and note the sections that name any faults of your pie, and try to determine where you have slipped.

Pastry Has Shrunk
a. Pastry should be allowed to rest about 10 minutes before trimming and baking.
b. Not letting upper crust extend over rim of pan so that it can be molded into rim with lower crust.
c. Pastry should not be stretched to fit into pan. Fit it loosely and press gently into shape of pan.

Pastry Crumbles:  Flour and fat over-mixed.

Pastry Is Tough:
a. Too much water added to flour-fat mixture.
b. Too little fat in proportion to flour.
c. Too much handling and rolling.
d. Too much flour on board. It works into pastry.
e. Pastry over-mixed.

Pies Do Not Brown:  With fruit or custard pies use a glass pie pan or an enamel pan. Try baking such pies at a constant temperature of 400°F. to 425°F.

Bottom Crust of Filled Pie is Soggy:  
a. Too low a temperature was used.
b. Pastry too damp to begin with.

Fruit Pie Filling Has Bubbled Over:
a. Not enough thickening with watery fruit.
b. Use a pie vent to form funnel so juice can bubble up but not over, or bind edge of juicy fruit pies with pie tape, strip of gauze, or cloth dipped in cold water. Remove after pie is baked.
b. Make lower crust large enough to fold over edge of fruit.
d. Oven was too hot.

Cream Pie Filling is Runny Although the Same Recipe was Used Which Gave Good Results at Another Time:  
a. Eggs not as fresh or smaller than usual.
b. Filling may not have been cooked long enough after eggs were added.
c.Occasionally when starch is used for thickening, it is affected by very acid ingredients. This may particularly occur with brown sugar, chocolate, or lemon fillings.

Meringue is Tough, Shrinks, or "Weeps":  
a. Oven too slow.
b. Meringue was not spread well out on the edge of outer crust all around.
c. Too much sugar was used or sugar is too coarse.
d. Egg whites may have been underbeaten.
e. Sugar may not have been thoroughly blended into egg whites.

Why Butter and Margarine are Generally not Recommended for Pastry:  
a. Butter and margarine scorch at lower temperature.
b. They contain water and milk solids which do not give as tender crusts as pure fats.

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