Apple Pie Crust - advice

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Joined Oct 4, 2004
I went apple picking this weekend and made a 'wonderful' apple pie - the filling was great and the top crust flaky and perfect. But, my bottom crust was raw! It didn't bake at all!

I used a ceramic pie dish to bake in. Baked close to the bottom of the oven (but needed to use the lowest rack for a cookie sheet to catch all the drippings). I coated the bottom crust with egg white so it would not get soggy from the filling. I baked at a higher temperature (425 F) for the first 10 minutes and then lowered it to 350 F.

What am I doing wrong? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Maria
 
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
It's hard to avoid this in some ovens, but here are some suggestions: Roll your top crust thicker than the bottom, and put a sheetpan on the rack above the pie. Also, use a pyrex pie plate, so that you can see when the bottom is cooked.
 
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Well one thing that you could try doing insted is don't brush the crust with egg if your not going ti cook it before you fill the pie. The only time that you would egg wash your crust is if you are making a baked unfilled crust. Like with apple pie though you just place the crust in the pie dish raw and then fill. What probly happened is that the egg soked in and didn't bake evenly. And always make sure that your pie is on the second to the bottom rack.
One quick tip: use a slightly beaten egg to brush on your crust because the yolk is what makes it all golden brown.
 
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Joined Sep 23, 2004
mstefanis: You indicate that you used a ceramic dish. That’s quite acceptable. Better than a shiny metal pie pan as it’s more likely to cause a soggy crust. Instead, use either a blackened steel or glass pie plate to bake your pie crust. The glass plate has the advantage of transparency so that you might judge the doneness of the bottom crust. I have always advocated the use of a dark steel pan for pie baking because it gives the best assurance of an evenly coloured crust. It absorbs and distributes heat with far more alacrity that do either glistening stainless or aluminum ones and is certainly superior to anything made of glass. As you’ve sadly discovered, failure to achieve a well-cooked crust results in a shell which has the taste of raw butter and the texture of moist clay.

It might seem that an antidote to the undercooked crust would be more cooking, but there is a peril in that approach. I recall a time when an acquaintance of mine baked an apple tart in a light-coloured, tinned-steel pan. After baking the tart, which was topped with a neat array of painstakingly arranged apple slices, for the prescribed time & at the appropriate heat, he noticed that the crust was still undercooked. So he kept baking, and the dough did crispen somewhat – but the apples blackened beyond redemption!

There are a number of factors we must consider en route to offering a solution to your undercooked, soggy bottom crust. First, I must say that brushing egg white onto an unbaked crust will not prevent it from absorbing liquid from the filling. You need to modify the filling itself. What variety of apples did you use? Northern Spies traditionally make the best uncooked pie filling (i.e., where crust & filling are baked together). These apples hold their shape admirably during baking, and they exude the right amt of liquid to provide a juicy filling, but not at all watery. Rhode Island Greenings & Pippins are good alternative varieties for an uncooked filling. On the other hand, Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples really need to be partially cooked before they're combined into the filling because some of the moisture has to be rendered out of them -- otherwise the filling will be somewhat liquid and the bottom crust will tend to absorb that excess moisture.

You can add 2 or 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to your apple pie filling to help it to gel. Also, wait at least 30-40 minutes before slicing the pie; the juices in the filling continue to set because of the residual heat retained from the oven.
 
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
Thid is just an idea from an old chef with his AArP card, Use preheated pizza stone and place you drip pan below the shelf
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2003
I disagree.

Thermal Conductivity Coefficient of Common Cooking Materials

Silver .96
Copper .94
Aluminum (spun or pressed) .53
Cast aluminum .33
Steel .16
Iron .12
Stainless Steel .05

Black does absorb heat better than shiny metal, but I'll definitely pit my aluminum pie pan with a TCC of .53 against your .16 TCC steel pan any day of the week.
 
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Joined Jun 28, 2004
Baked a whole bunch this weekend. My darling sister (who could not even find her kitchen if she tried) went apple picking. Guess where the apples ended up.

My grandmother taught me this trick, and it has always worked. I mix the apples with sugar, a touch of brown sugar, cinnamon and just a slight touch of nutmeg. I let them sit in a bowl for about 1/2 hour. Scoop them out into a colander (there will be juices in the bottom...leave it) and let them drain a bit more. This seems to get rid of excess moisture and my bottom crusts are just as perfect as the tops.
 
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Joined Aug 15, 2004
I actually asked Chef Jean-Claude Tindillier many years ago about how to avoid a soggy bottom pie crust. His reply was to use a heavy cookie sheet to set your pie pan on in the oven.

doc
 
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Joined Oct 7, 2013
I am more experienced with cakes than pies - except for the doughs. However . . .

Experiences: I have used a heavy half-sheet (18 gauge) right under aluminum pie pans but it seemed to inhibit the bottoms from ever getting cooked. I've had better success with drip pans that leave the center open to the air flow. The French black-steel sheets make far better pan liners only IF their size allows plenty of room around them in your oven.

Placing the pie pan directly on unglazed ceramic (pizza/bread stone) also inhibits air flow in the non-convection oven (and it effectively raises the oven temperature by about 25 degrees, so you have to adjust for that). Too complicated. Save the stone for breads or free-standing pastry shells.

When doing a fancier crust fluting which sticks up or out, remember to shield the edge lightly for half the baking time; anything extending beyond the pan will brown-out quickly in the oven air.

Most recent pie :  Traditional uncooked apple filling (mix of Cortland, Red Delicious, a few green, etc). My dough is almost a Galette dough, but with additional fat layers rolled-in. You can see a triple layer moment in the photo.  Bottom not quite as done as I like, because I overlooked lowering the pie rack which had been moved.



 
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I actually asked Chef Jean-Claude Tindillier many years ago about how to avoid a soggy bottom pie crust. His reply was to use a heavy cookie sheet to set your pie pan on in the oven.

doc
For my tarts I place a baking sheet into the upper third of the oven and preheat.  Then I blind bake the crust for twenty minutes and remove the pie weights.  The crust is then brushed with ONE WHOLE slightly beaten egg white mixed with a pinch of sugar (to increase browning).  The crust is placed back into the oven and baked bare for another thirty minutes.  Totally flaky and DRY on the bottom even when filling has been added.  Do a search in this forum for my comments on tart dough.  HTH.

And on page 590 of KA's Baker's Companion it states:  "We've forgotten pies in the oven sometimes, and even after 2 hours they've emerged happily bubbling and beautifully browned."

And always remember the quote stated by 'the master' in the TV series America's Baking Competition and I'll paraphrase:  "A soggy bottom is an absolute No No."
 
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Thanx.  I will try this method next time with a tart or single-crust pie. I've usually brushed interiors with a cooked-down apricot or red- currant jelly depending on type of pie, but your method seems better for creams, and perfect for savories. 
 
4,452
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Joined Aug 4, 2000
 
Thanx.  I will try this method next time with a tart or single-crust pie. I've usually brushed interiors with a cooked-down apricot or red- currant jelly depending on type of pie, but your method seems better for creams, and perfect for savories. 
Slightly beaten egg whites, sugared, salted, or not, work well with any crust, either sweet or savory!  8)
 
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