Perfect pies

I’ve never figured out how to do a bottom crust on a chicken pot pie, I just serve it in the casserole dish with a pastry top.
I may try a hot water crust this year.

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You can blind bake both the bottom and top crusts, assemble with the hot filling, then bake until the gravy bubbles around the top crust (with the option of an egg wash on the top crust before the assembled bake. This was one of CI’'s countless recipes for the best fruit pie…at least one a year.


I can try that. Do you have any favorite recipes? I should start a pie thread.

I’m a big believer of marinating the fruit in sugar and spices before baking in the pie, it releases the juices. I learned that from a fellow Chowhounder. It was life-changing.

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I do this when making jam. I learned of this technique through the French jam queen Christine Ferber.
I seldom make pies but will try it next time!

Do you drain off the liquid or somehow reduce it before baking?

After macerating the fruit with sugar, if there’s a lot of juice you can either simmer the whole shebang to reduce the juice to a glaze, or strain the fruit and reducen only the juice.

That’s interesting, I’ve never tried that, I’ve just strained the apples from the juice, but that does sound like a great idea to use the juice. Do you put the glaze back into the pie or serve it elsewhere?

Hope that answers your question @ChristinaM, I drain the juice from the macerated apples. But my apple pie is not juicy and I add caramel to it, so it’s almost fudgey in consistency with apple slices that are very much intact.

I do reuse blueberry juice from macerated blueberries in my blueberry pie, but it’s a different technique and more complicated. I use Rose Beranbaum’s recipe if you want to look it up.

Yes, you put the reduced syrup back into the fruit and stir it up, then fill the crust.

Intriguing. About how long do you marinate the fruit in sugar and spices before baking the pie? I have done that, but maybe I’m not allowing enough time for the magic to happen.

I am pretty happy with the pie fillings for fruit pies but my pastry crust needs work. Can we cover the pie crust too or do you prefer a separate topic?

Right now we use a very basic shortening crust. Its not all that tasty.

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+1 on that. None of my attempts at pastry crust has seemed worth the effort involved, so I have become content with buying frozen crust. Sourcing really good fruit or making a sumptuous filling is where I focus my effort.

Yet I sense there must be pastry crust mavens among us.

My most successful (and tasty) crusts are all butter. No shortening. I like this recipe:

I have tried through the years adding vodka, vinegar etc for part of the water. I don’t notice a difference myself. I find the value in good butter, as minimal handling of the dough as possible and making the dough with plenty of time to rest and chill in the fridge before rolling.


How long do you chill dough? Do you have a butter preference? Salted, sweet cream, brand? Any tips on flour brand/type? Is AP just as good? Do you follow linked method exactly as written? Thxs.

I try to plan to do my dough the night before I want to make a pie so there is at least 12 hours of chilling time. But in a rush, I have done only an hour or two in the fridge and it still turns out fine. The dough really has time to relax and it is so much easier to work with.

I like to use unsalted butter. That delicious one in the green package, it has an Irish name that I am blanking on. But honestly, I think any fresh butter will do (not a package you have had in your freezer forever). I use either King Arthur AP, Gold Medal AP or Bob’s Red Mill AP. I go through a lot of AP so I don’t really get too fussy on this (perhaps I should?) but butter is the flavor of the crust. In a pinch, I use salted butter and omit the salt in the recipe.

As for the directions, I have had good success with a food processor, but pay attention to not add too much water. If you don’t have one, I like taking my frozen butter and using a box cheese grater to grate it into the flour (this is also how I make biscuits). I do this a lot when I don’t feel like dragging out the food processor and cleaning up everything. I strongly recommend getting the dough into a nice round disc before chilling. It makes rolling so much easier to actually get round at the end. Before rolling, I take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up for maybe 10-20ish minutes (depends how warm my kitchen is that day).

Makes me want to go home and whip up a pie! MMM!

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Outstanding details! You covered all my questions! Im returning to the orchard in Colts Neck. Birthday pie on the horizon!!

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Pics please!

:+1:. Will do.

Have you ever frozen this dough recipe in advance of pie baking? Hold up? Not recommended?

You know. I’ve never tried. That would be an interesting experiment. If you do, please post about it. It would be interesting if you could pre-roll it into the pan and then making a pie could be fast. Might have to try that out.

Here we go!


Ok :crossed_fingers:two rounds in the deep freeze. I used exactly 6 tablespoons of iced cold water. Used the box grater on the salted butter first. Then added dry ingred sans salt to the bowl. Weighed out evenly and wrapped. Super fast prep. They will be frozen until Fri so lets see how it goes.

I didnt use a fp. Grating the butter is genius so I just added the dry ingred. After the grated butter and mixed by hand.