Here’s some short cuts in improving your pastry failures.
+ Baking your pie crusts, some say 350 – 450 degrees, you need to know how HOT your oven gets. The commercial kitchen I use is very slow, so quite often I’ve got it up to 450 – 500 degrees. When I am at home and baking it’s 425 – 450 degrees. If you aren’t sure get a temperature gauge to test it. These tips are just short cuts to having great pastry.
+ If your dough is tough, then you don’t have enough water or liquid.
+ If your dough shrinks during baking, you’ve got too much liquid or it’s over stretched. I like my crust about 1/4″ any thinner and that’s when it gets stretched.
+ If your crust is crumbles easily, this doesn’t mean flaky, then you’ve got too much shortening in it. Or you’ve reduced the peas sized dough too small.
+ If your crust is hard. you’ve got too much water, over-mixed dough from not enough liquid, or pastry not rolled out properly. Or your oven is too slow, in other words it’s not a high enough temperature.
+ Your bottom crust is soggy, your filling is not cooled enough when you put the filling in the pie shell. or the pie is too high in the oven. If you are going to use foil dishes, place the pans on a cookie sheet.
+ My #1 rule if it fails, you are not using a pastry blender, it’s no wonder that I wasn’t very good at making pie crusts many years ago. When I bought my 1st pastry blender, WOW what a difference it makes.
Enjoy your baking and improve your pastry!