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Troubleshooting Pastry

Everyone runs into problems making pie crust -- here are some secrets to successful crust-making.

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Once you know these simple tricks, you'll always have beautiful pie crusts.

If your pastry didn't turn out perfectly, look for one of the following problems (and its solution, too!):

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If your pastry is crumbly and hard to roll:

  • Add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time
  • Toss the flour mixture and water together only until all of the flour mixture is moistened.
  • Use less flour when rolling out your pastry.

If your pastry is tough:

  • Use a pastry blender to cut in the shortening or lard until well mixed and all of the mixture resembles small peas.
  • Use less water to moisten the flour mixture.
  • Toss the flour mixture and water together only until all of the flour mixture is moistened.
  • Use less flour when rolling out your pastry.

If your crust shrinks excessively:

  • Mix in the water only until evenly moistened.
  • Let pastry rest for 5 minutes if it is hard to roll.
  • Don't stretch pastry when transferring it.

If the bottom crust is soggy:

  • Use a dull metal or glass pie plate rather than a shiny metal pan.
  • Patch any cracks in the pastry with a pastry scrap before adding the filling.
  • Make sure your oven temperature is accurate. If the temperature is too low, the bottom crust won't bake properly.
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