I make some savory pies that call for an egg yolk to be brushed onto the crust before baking. The end result is ok at best, but it is difficult to spread and I feel it could come out looking much better. Is there a trick to this that i’m missing?
Do you have a picture to show us?
This might give us a clue as to what you found unsatisfactory.
But generally here are some general tips
- Make sure to whisk your egg yolk together very well (short of making a custard of course); if not whisked properly it won’t spread evenly.
- Don’t over do it. Try to apply an even layer throughout and avoid the temptation of applying too thick of a layer, which can lead to burnt patches and uneven sheen
- Do a double layer. Once before you bake and then again after you bake.
Usually egg wash is egg whisked with some liquid. Omitting the liquid does make it hard to apply.
Ok, whisking will probably help. If I add a liquid, what should I add and how much? Since the recipe doesn’t call for it I’ve been hesitant for fear of harming the crust.
Your first point is probably my problem, the need to whisk. I am trying to do it gingerly and lightly, and I 'm pretty sure I don’t need another layer…
Add just a dash of water, like a drop at a time if you think the wash is too viscous, making it potentially hard to spread evenly.
Use water, 3 parts egg to one part water. Whisk well .
I always use a whole egg, rather than just the yolk.
I use egg white for sweet, whole egg for savory. Also whisked with a half-teaspoon or so of water in either case. Just my $0.02.
You can just use whole egg. You can also add liquid, whether water, milk, or cream.
My preference especially given it’s a savory pie is to add a pinch of salt rather than adding liquid. The salt denatures and loosens the proteins, making it more fluid. You only need a tiny pinch and this is suitable for sweet and savory doughs.
Even Cook’s Illustrated recommends this.
“We did find, however, that in addition to flavoring the wash, salt helps denature the proteins in the egg, making it more fluid and therefore much easier to brush evenly and gently over delicate doughs”
As stated, you also need to whisk it well. I often like straining egg wash.
If you want to see the effect of different washes/glazes, you can watch this video.
You don’t need to be nervous when brushing a wash on a crust.
Add a tsp. of water or a smidge more after whisking the egg to blend it in. OR as others have noted, use the whole egg. You won’t end up using the whole egg, so if you have pets, scramble it after you do the egg wash and add it to their food. They’ll love you for it.
According to at least a dozen French Chef episodes, Julia always used one large egg whisked with a teaspoon of water. Works every time
This is exactly what my mother taught me to do. Works every time!!
to the best of my knowledge, this is not a secret.
whether using an egg wash for breading, or for brushing bread or crusts, a whole egg well beaten with about 1 tablespoon of water.
without the water the beaten egg is simply too goopy / viscous to spread/brush/dip on the “work piece.”
pie crust or fried chicken - without the slight water dilution, it’s the same problem . . .
Hmm, Epicurious would beg to differ.
In my experience, an egg wash needs a little liquid to loosen up the proteins. I usually add about a tablespoon of water to one egg and either wisk or beat with a fork until it’s really combined. Then it’s a lot easier to brush it on in a thin layer…I use a silicone brush. I have never used the entire one egg/water solution for a bottom crust or for the top of a baked item…thoroughly cover in a thin layer. You can’t get the thin layer without the water.