Pie vs Tart Crust

Can I use a tart crust recipe in place of pie crust? I bake a lot but my pie crust shrinks and it's not great. I'm making two Derby pies in the morning and have back-up store bought crust just in case. Couldn't I just use a press-in tart dough instead of rolling out a crust?

  • Posted by: Louisa
  • May 4, 2012


Louisa May 6, 2012
Thanks, Sarah. I did chill the dough before rolling it out, I pricked the holes and I chilled it before baking it. I used fluted ceramic pie pans--could that possibly make a difference? My sister makes a great crust and I should have her walk me through it. It sounds like I must be overworking the dough.
Reiney May 6, 2012
Glad the pies were good!

Did you chill the crust before rolling it out as well? There are two reasons to chill the dough: keep the fat cold and rest the gluten (protein in the flour that gives elasticity - sometimes you want it, as in bread, and sometimes you don't, as in most pastry products).

A light hand with the dough is also important, you don't want to overwork it. This goes for the initial forming of the dough as well as rolling it out. Overworking leads to forcing the gluten a bit, which when it comes time to bake may end up springing back on you.

Gluten is a bit like rubber bands - in a bread you want "them" stretched out and taut, to trap the gasses from yeast and create a nice shape. In pastry you want them loose and layered with the fat - if they're stretched they "snap" back during baking.
Louisa May 6, 2012
Thanks, everyone. Here's what I did. I watched the rolling-out-pie-crust video (excellent) and then did the dough, which rolled out fine. I chilled before baking and everything, but both pie crusts shrank, and I did not have the nice looking pinched edge up on top. So just wondering why that happens...Since I only had one tart pan I did end up using my ceramic pie pans. I will say the pies were delicious.
ATL May 5, 2012
Sorry for the typos above!
ATL May 5, 2012
If you use the cake pan you will lose the presentation as you won't be able to lift it out cleanly out of the pan and you won't get the beautiful ridges of the side crust that are distinctive to a tart. The small tart tins aren't very expensive-- you might want to invest in a few. I have even smaller tins, quite small in fact, without removable bottoms, in a variety of shapes. With these, lightly spray the bottoms with a cooking spray, loosen gently the sides if the tiny tartlet with the tip of a thin small knife, and unmold onto a plate (I actually do it directly into the palm of my hand and then carefully turn over and place upon a plate). These arenespecially nice at the holidays when baking more than one flavor. They are nice to pass on. a decorative platter and offer a choice.. . But I digress.
Louisa May 5, 2012
That's a good idea. I only have one tart pan and I don't want to do the mini. Do you think I could just use an 8" cake pan for the other tart? Also I think there was a video of a pressed crust, so I'll look for that. I always promise myself that I'll take the time and practice pie-crusting, but I don't do it and then it's pie time.
ATL May 5, 2012
Why not just make them as tarts, not
pies? You may have extra filling, but if you have small or individual tartlet pans, use it up that way. You will end up with a prettier presentation.
I do this routinely with pumpkin and pecan filling at the holidays.
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