Pamela’s Pie Crust Tips

Apple Pie SlideYou can make a pie crust with Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend, Pamela’s Bread Mix, or Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix. Each mix nets different pie results, as they were formulated for different purposes. Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix and Bread Mix were developed to make primarily pancakes and bread but have been used for years by bakers to make pie crust.

Here are some of the differences between these flours:

Which baking mix to use?
Pamela’s first choice is to use the All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend to make the Artisan Flour Pie Crust.
Her second choice is to use the Bread Mix for the classic flaky butter crust, as described in the Double Crust Apple Pie recipe, or the Easy Pie Crust.
Her third choice is the Pie Crust using the Baking & Pancake Mix.

Fats:
Pamela prefers the ½ shortening, ½ butter combination in her pie crusts. Her second choice is 100% butter, but if these are not options, you can use Earth Balance, Margarine, Coconut spread, Coconut Oil, etc. Make sure that product is applicable for baking. Different fats net different results in flavor and texture, but will taste great!

As for all fat-based pastry doughs, expect to achieve best results with well-chilled ingredients. Freezing or refrigerating butter and refrigerating shortening are simple steps to foolproof crusts. A quick suggestion is to freeze your bowl, flour and fat for about 10 minutes before using. If the day is warm or the kitchen very hot, chilling all ingredients and utensils (fats, dry ingredients, liquids, bowl and pastry cutter, food processor bowl and blade) helps ensure success in spite of the heat. Working on chilled marble or other stone surfaces also eases handling of dough in such extreme situations.

Ice Water:
Ice water is called for as an indication of how cold the water should be. The very cold water helps to keep the fat cold so that it leaves pockets in the dough when they melt during baking which helps to make a flakier texture. I pour more water than I need into a container, add ice for a couple minutes, then pour the cold water (without ice) into my measuring cup.

Mixing the dough:
MIX DOUGH ONLY TO BRING TOGETHER. DO NOT OVER WORK DOUGH. You want to handle the least amount possible so that fat pockets remain for a flakier crust. Whether making pie crust in the food processor or by hand, the dough is ready when it just starts to come together. Dough should be crumbly, but should squeeze easily together in the fingers to form a clump.

Rolling the dough:
Tightly-wrapped dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days or frozen for up to 6 months for convenient use anytime. Thaw completely before rolling. You can roll out most pastry doughs made with Pamela’s mixes between 2 layers of parchment paper. Start from the center and roll always away from your body, rotating dough, together with its parchment layers, 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn with each pass of the rolling pin. To avoid wrinkles as you roll, occasionally peel away the top parchment layer, pull taut and replace smoothly. Flip over entire package and repeat procedure on other side. Resume rolling. As an alternative to rolling out between 2 layers of parchment paper, dust rolling surface, rolling pin, and chilled dough with any Pamela’s mix or rice flour. Dough can also be rolled out and put into pie dish, then frozen and baked at a later date. Remove from freezer and bake in preheated oven.

If dough becomes too sticky to handle at any point, return to refrigerator to chill further. For easy release, always lightly oil the pie pan before placing pastry dough. Although proportions of fats in gluten-free pastry doughs compare to those in conventional wheat pastry doughs, gluten-free doughs tend to be stickier than conventional counterparts.

Assembling the pie:
To avoid over-browning, choose metal pie pans over glass ones when making pie crusts with Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix.

To place round of dough in oiled pan or on top of a filled pie, peel away top layer of parchment paper, if using. Use remaining layer of parchment paper to invert dough into place. Carefully remove remaining layer of parchment paper and arrange crust so excess dough hangs evenly around edge. Trim off excess dough and seal, crimp or flute as appropriate. Thicker, smoother edges do not brown as quickly as thinner, more detailed edges, so thicker, smoother edges may be desirable when baking filled pies with cooking times that exceed 40 minutes.

Baking the pie:
To pre-bake pie crust (also known as blind-baking), preheat oven to 350° and bake pie for 35 to 40 minutes on bottom rack. Placing pie pan directly on a pizza stone or bread stone on the bottom rack of the oven helps ensure a perfectly golden-browned bottom crust. Weighting a pie crust during initial pre-baking can help ensure that crust holds its shape. Carefully line the shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Gently bank weights against shell wall to hold sides in place during baking. Bake weighted pie for 15 to 20 minutes, remove from oven, and carefully lift aluminum foil or parchment paper containing pie weights from shell. Continue baking for remainder of time without weights.

If filling a partially pre-baked pie shell with an un-cooked filling as some recipes require, avoid a soggy crust by preparing a glaze of one large egg yolk whisked with a dash of salt. Brush glaze on interior of shell for the last minute or two of pre-baking.

Foil can be placed on edges to decrease browning of the crust edge. Pie crust made with the Pamela’s Pancake Mix will brown much more than using other flour blends because it contains baking soda which causes browning.

Still need help? Watch Pamela’s video — How To Make a Pie Crust.

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