For some people, making your own pie crust is almost as scary as speaking in front of a large crowd! Fortunately there is a way around this. You can make both sweet and savory pies by buying a ready made pie crust at the grocery store. Here are a few basics that will help when using pre-made store-bought pie crusts.
You can buy a pie crust all ready to use in the frozen food section of the grocery store.
These come in a disposable tin pie dish. You definitely need to set this type of crust on a baking sheet with sides when you put it in the oven.
Pillsbury makes a great pie crust. You can buy this one in the dairy section of the grocery store.
The box contains two rolls of pasty, in case you want to make a “two-crust” pie like an apple pie. One roll would be for the bottom and the other would be for the top.
Freeze the leftover roll. Be sure to use it within about 2 months: after that, it really starts to dry out in the freezer.
When working with this pastry, the trick is to make sure it is almost at room temperature when you unroll it.
If it is too cold, you might tear it. If it is too warm you may stretch it. Unroll it right over your pie dish.
Gently press it into the shape of the pie dish.
If the dough is hanging over the side of the dish, turn the edges under.
You could then press the edges down with the tines of a fork all the way around the edge of the dish.
Or you could crimp the edges with your forefinger of one hand pushed between the forefinger and thumb of your other hand.
You many actually find it easier to use your knuckle instead of your forefinger.
You end up with a lovely decorative edge all the way around the pie.
If your recipe calls for a pre-baked “shell”, this is when you would prick the sides and bottom of the dough with a fork and put it in the oven and bake it according to the directions on the package. Ice cream pies and pudding pies (like chocolate cream pie) usually need a pre-baked crust.
Recipes will often say to put tin foil around the edges of your pie so that the crust does not burn. You could just tear off some strips of tin foil but making them stay in place is often a bit tricky.
Rose Levy Beranbaum, who wrote the The Pie and Pastry Bible, suggests making a foil ring. (By the way this is probably one of the best and most comprehensive books on making pies. There are very few photos and the book is as big as a door stop, but it is excellent!)
Making a foil ring:
Tear off a piece of heavy-duty foil a few inches larger then the diameter to the pie. Cut a circle bigger than your pie dish. (As a guide, use a really large pot lid or a pizza pan). To mark a cutout in the center, use a bowl or a smaller pot lid.
Leave at least a 3-inch border. The hole in the center of the circle will expose the pie’s surface but not the edge of the pie. Use a pair of scissors, to cut out the circle. Shape it so that it will curve over the rim of the pie crust. (Don’t press it down on the pie crust. I should just be sitting on to of the crust.
Cover the edges of the crust after the first 15 minutes of baking. They will continue to brown, though more slowly beneath the foil.
There are some bakers that put the foil on the pie before sticking it in the oven. There are advantages to doing it this way in that you are not trying to fit this tinfoil ring on a very hot pie. Your best bet is to fit the ring on the pie before you put the pie in the oven.
After 15 minutes you can then just slip the tinfoil in place and you should end up with a perfect pie!
You can also buy pre-made cracker crusts…
…or make your own Graham Cracker Pie Crust!
Chocolate Fudge Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
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