dry pie crust

Joined Dec 18, 2009
im having trouble keeping my pie crusts moist while im rolling them out, they seem fine when im cutting in shortening and adding water but usually when im rolling it out the edges get frayed and dry, i dont use a whole lot of flour for my pin and rolling area any ideas? maybe a new recipe
Joined Feb 13, 2008
If you can roll the dough out enough so the dry, frayed edges go beyond the edge of the pie pan -- and ultimately get trimmed off -- don't worry about it. In order to be tender and crisp, a pie crust should be (darn near) as dry as possible.

The only thing I can think of that will make a positive difference without a negative impact as well, is resting your crust in the refirgerator, after it's mixed, wrapped in cling-film, and compressed into a disk. The rest will allow the dough to better distribute the moisture on its own.

If you're already resting, then, quien sabe?

Pardon me for adding, you're just a tad parsimonious when it comes to providing information regarding the ingredients, proportions and methods involved in your pie crust. It's as if you said nothing about them. Exactly as if. The more information you provide, the more likely the responses will be... well... responsive.

Good luck,
Joined Aug 13, 2006
This doesn;t make it less crumbly but makes rolling out easier in that the edges don;'t tend to split out and make a sort of scallop when the edges are dry:

Before rolling, i flatten the dough and make the edges slightly thicker than the middle. I form it with my hands so that it doesn;t begin cracked, but the sides are nice and compact using a little pressure.

Then when i begin rolling with the rolling pin, I only roll to within an inch of the edge, from the center to 1 inch from edge, then turn roughly 1/6th of a turn, then roll out to within 1 in from edge, then turn again about a sixth, then again to within one inch. etc. all around and around till it;s the thickness i want.

That way you keep the edge slightly thicker than the center, and it cracks less. I sometimes press hard around the edge if i see it cracking, or fold under a bit to keep it thicker till i get to the last rolling, when it will usually have compressed enough not to crack much. (The compression slightly softens the butter, making it moister, without melting it).

Of course, when you make the dough, it might just be necessary to add a little water. Whatever the recipe is, since there is a variation in flours and butters, you might need to adjust. My eyeball method is this: I make a ball from the dough and then try to crack it open. If it cracks really easily and crumbles a bit, i recrumble the whole thing, wet my hand so it's dripping and shake it over the dough. Then toss it lightly and make a ball again. If it crumbles already in the ball stage, you're going to have trouble rolling and also even making it hold together when you lay it in the pie dish. You have to be careful you don;t overwork it, but the crumbling and tossing doesn;t ruin the flakiness of the final product. Also when you try to break the ball if it crumbles into a lot of pieces, you'll need a couple of wet hands' worth of water sprinkled over the dough before tossing and reforming it. No point doing it many times, it would need more water.
Joined Dec 18, 2009
thanks for the info, sorry about the lack of info, i had it on my mind to write it down. but the recipie i use (got it out of a cook book) is for a double crust :
2c. a.p.f
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 c. shortening
and 6-7 tbls water

i add the flour and salt together then cut the shorteining in and add 1tbls of water at a time until i think its good. perhaps i am also rolling in out wrong i start from the middle and gently roll outwards and rotate the crust after every time
Joined Feb 13, 2008
It's a good recipe, but kind of stingy for a two crust. Make it a little larger and not only will you not have to roll as thin; you'll have enough extra so that you can throw out the bad bit.

A typical two crust recipe is 2-1/2 cups unsifted flour, between 3/4 and 1 cup shortening (I prefer lard), the same amount of salt, and again, just enough water to hold the dough together, as before.

Your technique is right. You could bump it to uber technique as follows: Start by flattening the center of the disc with your palm, or in the alternative, whack a cross in the disc with your rolling pin. Roll out from the center (as you do now), but on the first pass, stop just short of rolling all the way to the edge; then roll as usual.

Forgive me Siduri for baldly restating what you wrote, but it bore repetition. Sterling technique.

Bottom line: Slightly larger recipe; an unhurried rest in the fridge of 30 minutes at least after mixing, wrapping and forming into a disk; slightly tweaked rolling techique; and that ought to do it.

Joined Feb 18, 2007
I got this recipe out of an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that my mom bought and passed down to me from when she was living in New Orleans in the 1950's. I have never made or eaten a crust that was flakier or had better flavor.

You can roll it out between two sheets of wax paper if you need a top crust or just prefer to do it that way.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons milk

Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. With a fork whip together oil and milk; pour over flour mixture.

Mix with fork until dampened; turn into pie plate and press dough evenly against bottom and sides. Crimp edges if desired.

To pre-bake: Prick; bake 425 about 15 min.
Joined Dec 2, 2009
I have found if I let the pastry sit out after the cold rest it behaves better. Just long enough to take the chill off...added bonus is that it rolls a bit easier.
Joined Apr 16, 2006
And then there's the brilliant idea of using vodka in pie crust - Cook's Illustrated ran a recipe for vodka pie crust a little while back. Alcohol + flour doesn't create gluten, so you can get away with a little more liquid. Google it.
Joined Jan 21, 2010
Okay, I love you people. I've often had this problem with rolling out pie crusts, and, while I've found my own solutions, mostly involving chilling the dough and being patient and consistent but not too slow with my rolling, I very much wish I had read a thread like this when I first started baking pies.

I don't want to hijack your thread, but I sometimes have a problem that seems to be the next step after solving yours...

Once my pie crust is in the pie plate, and it looks perfectly even and round before baking, it sometimes looks horribly uneven and unprofessional, once cooked. This only seems to happen with pie crusts that do not have a hard crust topping, and it doesn't happen every time. Here's an example of what i'm talking about.

But perhaps there is a trick or two that I oughta be using to avoid this problem. Anyone?
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I found this formula back in 2007 and I swear by it. Success every time.
Joined Feb 13, 2008

I've never seen a pie which looked like the picture.

Too much edge! No pleats. No tine marks. What the heck?

It appears you may not be trimming enough crust before rolling, folding, and crimping the edge. Otherwise, I don't know. Can you take pictures of what your crust looks like for an unbaked pie which is already filled, but before forming the edge? That is, with the crust just hanging over. Then a picture of what it looks like after the edge is formed, before baking.


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