Every great pie starts with a carefully constructed crust. But we all know that crust can be intimidating! To set you up for summer pie success, we’re sharing a few of baker extraordinaire Gesine Bullock-Prado’s top tips. These little pieces of expert advice come from Gesine’s latest class, Pies & Tarts for Every Season (as seen on The Today Show!) — consider this an exclusive sneak peek.
1. A Secret Ingredient
As you’re making pie dough, add a little squirt of a weak acid like lemon juice or vinegar. Why? “It adds extensibility to a dough like this, and that just means that it makes it easier and more pliable to roll out,” Gesine says.
2. Big & Small
Some recipes may tell you to divide your dough in half — one half for the bottom crust, one half for the top. But Gesine recommends making one “half” a little bigger than the other, so that you have extra dough to have fun with a decorative top (like a lattice crust).
3. Don’t Roll Over
This rule goes for any dough, from pie dough and tart dough to cookie dough and pizza dough. To keep your dough an even thickness, never let your rolling pin roll over the edges of the dough. If you do, you’ll squash the edges, which will make them harder to work with later.
4. Ready for Lift Off
Moving the crust from your work station to the pie tin shouldn’t be a struggle! Here are two tricks to make it a cinch:
- Try folding the rolled-out crust into quarters, then move it to the pan. Just be sure you don’t crease the folds.
- Roll the dough onto your rolling pin and quickly transfer it to the pan. Easy!
5. Perfect Pricks
Docking — or poking holes in your crust with a fork — can make all the difference in blind baking. Gesine says that the holes help the heat in your oven can rise up and through the crust, which keeps the crust from becoming too flaky before it’s been filled. By the way, make sure your fork hits the bottom of the pan — that’s how you know the holes went all the way through.
6. Bake It Upside Down
Upside down? Yep! Before blind baking, top your bottom crust with a second pie plate. Flip the whole thing upside down on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Gravity steps it to make sure the crust doesn’t slump at all.