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Pie crust confusion

Hi! I made a buttermilk chess pie yesterday and the weirdest thing happened. I made one full pie and I had extra dough and filling so I lined some muffin tins with raw dough and filled them just to see what would happen. The crust textures were entirely different! I'm very confused why. The mini pies were flaky and tender, the crust was perfect. On the big pie though, the crust was tough and leathery! The only difference was blinding baking. I blind baked the large pie before adding the filling. I blind baked it at around 400 and then the mini pies were around 350. It definitely wasn't my crust recipe or method because I used the same dough for both. Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on why the crust textures would be so different. Thank you!

asked by Callie 23 days ago

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Hana Asbrink
Hana Asbrink

Senior Lifestyle Editor

added 23 days ago

Hi Callie - That is interesting! I'm wondering if maybe you took the par baking a bit longer than needed (hence the toughness). Without knowing how long you par baked it, perhaps reducing the time to just 12-15 minutes would help (read more on par baking here: https://food52.com/blog..., and our baking pro Erin McDowell's Maple Chess Pie tips here: https://food52.com/recipes...).

My theory for your little guys is that the smaller surface area and slightly lower oven temp allowed everything to bake up nice and even, without overdoing it on the custard and giving ample time on the crust.

Would love to know what others think!

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Callie
added 23 days ago

Hmm, that could be! I probably baked it for more than 20. So, in general, over baking can lead to toughness? Thanks for responding!

Smaug
added 23 days ago

I don't think overbaking a crust can make it tough, I've never noticed it and I have overbaked pies. Since volume is a cube function and area a square function, the proportion of filling to crust will be much higher in the large pie; this could effect the crust through more weight, more moisture absorbed from the filling, or the difference that the thermal mass of the filling would make in the baking characteristics- possibly others I haven't thought of. It would certainly be interesting to do some experiments if you don't mind having a lot of pies around.

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