why does piecrust shrink

I'm really frustrated about crust shrinkage. I regularly make a pretty standard pate brisee. After I make the dough, I divide it in half, wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I let it warm up for about 15 minutes, roll it out, and place in my tart pan. Then I refrigerate it for at least an hour, usually more. Despite all this resting time, it still shrinks when I blind-bake it. I thought crust shrinkage was usually related to not letting the dough rest, but it's getting more rest than I do and it still shrinks! Any suggestions for me?

  • Posted by: Diana B
  • April 24, 2013
  • 1616 views
  • 3 Comments

3 Comments

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sdebrango
sdebrango April 24, 2013

Here is an interesting blog post about this from pastry chef online, I love her site it always has great information. http://pastrychefonline.com/2009/01/09/oooh-your-pie-crust-its-sowee/
My pie dough always shrinks when I blind bake unless I am making a sturdy crust for tarts. I have to use the pie weights to keep if from bubbling up on the bottom etc..

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Patty
Patty April 24, 2013

It sounds like you're doing everything right. Pie crust shrinks because the gluten contracts during baking. Keeping ingredients cool, mixing briefly and quickly, and proper resting and chilling will minimize shrinkage, but it won't eliminate it. Some sweeter doughs in which softened butter is completely blended into the dry ingredients don't shrink as much because fat inhibits gluten development. Chez Panisse desserts has a Short Crust Pastry recipe that is like this and requires no pie weights for baking. It's not a pate brisee, but it's nice to mix things up sometimes.

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Diana B
Diana B April 25, 2013

Thank you for that link, Suzanne; she makes some interesting points and has a completely different approach that I'm going to try next time!

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