Tips & Tricks

  • The shortening and/or butter must be refrigerator cold and the liquid (water or milk) must be ice cold before making the dough.
  • Always roll from the center of the dough out applying even pressure to maintain a uniform thickness.
  • The dough should be roughly 12 inches in diameter to fit into a standard 9-inch pan (which is slightly larger than the width of a Silpat or piece of wax paper).  For a deep dish pie pan, the dough should be rolled to about 13 inches in diameter.  If the dough sticks to the counter, gently lift it up by running a bench scraper or thin metal spatula underneath.
  • To get the pie crust from the work surface into the pan you have several choices.  Experiment until you find the one that works best for you.
  1. Hold the rolling pin over the center of the crust and fold the bottom half over the pin and then loosely roll the pastry onto the pin.  Unroll it into the pie pan. OR
  2. Fold the pastry into thirds by folding the bottom section towards the middle and then the top part towards the middle.  Then lift it to the pan and carefully unfold the dough.  OR
  3. The easiest way is to roll the pastry on wax paper or a Silpat baking mat and then gently invert it over the pan and peel off the paper or Silpat.  If the wax paper wants to slide on the counter, you can use the Silpat underneath or wipe the counter with a slightly damp paper towel or clean dishrag.
  • If you get cracks in the dough they are easily fixed.  Dip your finger into ice water and moisten both sides of the crack and gently pinch the opening together. Use a damp finger to then smooth out the repair site.  Large gaps can be repaired with excess pastry.
  • Gently tuck the pastry into the pan with the overhang as even as you can make it. Drape any excess overhang onto your fingers and with the back of a butter knife cut the pastry evenly all the way around or use clean kitchen shears.  You want about one inch of overhang.  With a wet finger, moisten the edges of the crust and scraps and attach them to the bare areas and smooth.  Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, this is a homemade treat and taste is much more important than looks.  Pastry takes lots of practice and I still roll ugly looking circles 9 times out of 10.  Once the crust is repaired and the edges crimped no one will know it wasn’t perfect.
  • To make the edge, fold the overhang back (away from the inside of the pan) and pinch the dough against itself.  Don’t worry too much if it is thicker in some areas than others, just squeeze the thick parts a bit to push the excess farther down or leave it be.  You want the edge to be about 1/2-inch high.
  • Make the decorative scalloped edge by taking the thumb and forefinger of one hand and pressing them together forming a v-shaped wedge.  Turn these fingers so they are horizontal and line them up with the outside of the crust.  Take the forefinger of the other hand and from the inside of the crust gently push the dough into the v-shaped wedge.  Repeat all the way around the crust making each crimp immediately next to its neighbor.
  • Refrigerate the crust until the filling is ready.

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