Troubleshooting Pastry

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


+ enlarge image 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!):

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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