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When baking a pie shell for something like a pudding pie, what do I do to stop the sides of the pie shell from slipping down the pie plate during baking? — Laurie, OR

Bonnie Moore


It''s not the pie plate that''s giving you trouble; it''s the dough. An elastic-like substance called gluten forms when the proteins in flour are mixed with liquids. Over-worked gluten causes the sides of your pie shell to shrink (and get tough), leaving little room for the filling. Baking a pie shell without the filling in it is called "blind baking."

Tips for success:

Resting the dough. Dough benefits from a few hours rest in the refrigerator. It gives the gluten in the dough a chance to relax and become less elastic, helps the dough to shrink less when baked and gives the butter a chance to firm up again making it easier to roll.

Rolling the dough. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes. With a rolling pin, knock on the dough gently to soften it slightly. Roll the dough from the center to the edge. Lift the rolling pin at the edge of the pastry and begin again from the center. Never roll the dough back and forth in two directions, because it will activate the elasticity in the dough and make your pie crust tough and chewy.

Fitting the dough into the pie plate. Carefully fit the dough into the angle between the bottom and the sides of the pie plate. Whenever the dough gets too soft, put it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Resting the dough again. If you had a difficult time rolling the dough, let it rest in the pie plate in the refrigerator for 10 or 15 minutes before trimming the edges. Then refrigerate the dough for one hour or overnight.

Baking. Dock, or prick the bottom heavily with a fork. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper. Press the paper along the angle between the bottom and the sides. Cover the paper with a layer of pie weights (or use uncooked beans or rice)  to keep the crust from rising. Remove the paper and the pie weights as soon as the edges of the crust begin to turn golden. Follow the directions for filling the pie and finish baking.

About Bonnie Moore

Bonnie Moore, FoodFit's Executive Chef, graduated from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in Math and Statistics before forsaking her calculator for a whisk. Bonnie earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University and a degree in pastry arts from L'Academie de Cuisine. She was the sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, the only five-star, five-diamond kitchen in the United States, and a former chef-instructor in the professional program at L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland. Bonnie likes to be involved with food at every stage, from planting seeds at the farm to creating a meal for her family. She believes that there is no better place to foster community and nourish those you love than around a table piled with delicious food.

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