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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pie crusts and Fillings

Hello everyone! Today I just wanted to do a quick post about types of pie crust and fillings. There are two basic pie crusts: mealy vs flaky. Both pie crusts are prepared using the "cut-in" method, or the method in which the fat is cut into the flour using a pastry blender or bench scraper. I wish I would have taken pictures on the day we made our pie doughs at school but unfortunately I didn't so I guess my words will have to do for now.

Alright so, the mealy pie crust is the one you will want to use for your bottom crust because if a flaky one is used then the filling will soak through the layers and create a mess. When cutting the fat into the flour for this pie crust, you want it to reach a grainy consistency, smaller than pea sized, to create the mealy texture. On the other hand, the flaky pie crust which will be used for the top crust, you want to reach a pea sized consistency and no smaller to create the flaky texture.

In the case of fruit fillings, there are also two main types: cooked fruit vs cooked juice. The cooked fruit method is used for fruits like apples that may need be cooked down before baking to achieve a softer texture and rid them of some of their water so that a thicker pie filling is achieved. This also helps to avoid soggy crusts. We made apple pie in class, creating the filling by first cooking down the apples in butter and once the water was mostly cooked out we added the sugar and cooked until it became syrupy. Next we made a slurry of cornstarch and cold water and added that to the pan and continued cooking until thickened before removing from the heat and mixing with spices and more butter. As for the cooked juice method, this is used for fruits that have a softer texture like blueberries, that may not stand up well to being cooked. In this method you cook down a portion of the fruit to create a thickened filling and then gently mix it with the uncooked fruit, being careful not to smash it, before baking in the oven.

-Hannah