Pie Dough Basics

A few ripe peaches sweetened and baked in a crust with a latticework top make an appetizing pie. Latticework is a grid pattern on a pie crust made with individual strips of crust. Fruit pies, cream pies, and custard pies have long been considered favorite American desserts. This section presents the basics of pie dough and pie fillings.

Basic pie dough is sometimes called 3-2-1 dough. This ratio refers to the weight of three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part water. Successful pie crusts are based on gluten development in the flour and the mixture of flour and fat.

Pie Dough Ingredients

Using proper technique is an important factor in making pie dough. It also helps to understand how the ingredients work together.

Pastry Flour

Pie dough is made from pastry flour because the high gluten content in bread flour absorbs most of the liquid. This makes the dough tough and rubbery. However, pastry flour has enough gluten to keep the dough together so it can be rolled out.

Vegetable Shortening

Butter or vegetable shortening is used to make dough. With a high melting point of 90°F to 100°F (32°C to 38°C) and consistent quality, vegetable shortening is the best fat for a pie dough. The shortening should be cut or rubbed into the flour. The size of the fat particles in the dough determines its flakiness.


Water or milk at 40°F (4°C) or colder is added to the dough to form gluten as it is mixed with flour. It is important not to overmix pie dough or it will become tough. The cold temperature of the water is also important so that the fat in the dough firms up. The




Sugar and Molasses Act imposed a tax on molasses for non-British producers

France and Spain attack the British fortress of Gibraltar

Desserts, Colonial Style

Although their food supplies were limited at first, American Colonial cooks were very resourceful and managed to make some tasty desserts. Corn, pumpkins, and beans were new to them, and they learned to incorporate them into their meals. Pies made with pumpkin and native berries were popular. So was Indian pudding, which was made with cornmeal. Sweeteners included molasses and maple syrup.

History Application

Research American Colonial food. Imagine that you live in Colonial times. Write a diary entry about the dinner you have just helped your family prepare. Include details about your colony, and the foods and the methods of food preparation involved.

NCSS III H People, Places, and Environments Examine, interpret, and analyze physical and cultural patterns and their interactions, such as cultural transmission of customs and ideas.

crust will fall apart if not enough liquid is added. In contrast, or as a comparison, the crust becomes tough if too much liquid is used, because too much gluten develops.


Salt tenderizes the gluten and enhances flavor. To be sure salt is distributed evenly, either dissolve it in the liquid before you add it to the dough, or sift the salt with the flour.

Types of Pie Dough

Two-crust pies have both a bottom and a top crust. The top crust may be partially open in a latticework pattern or decorated with dough cutouts. Single-crust pies are often filled with cream or custard mixtures.

A pie is frequently judged by its flaky and tender crust. The two types of pie dough are flaky and mealy.

Flaky Pie Dough

Flour is not completely blended with the fat for flaky dough. Flaky pie dough is either long-flake or short-flake. In long-flake, the fat is about the size of walnuts, which creates a very flaky crust. This is used for the top crust of pies. In short-flake, the fat is in pieces about the size of peas. The gluten develops after the water is added and the dough is mixed. Then, the moistened flour and fat form flaky layers when the dough is rolled out. This dough is often used for two-crust pies.

Mealy Pie Dough

The texture of mealy dough resembles coarse cornmeal. The fat is blended into the flour more completely than it is for flaky dough. Mealy dough also requires less water or milk. The flour particles in mealy dough are more highly coated with fat and will not absorb as much liquid. Because the baked dough is less likely to absorb moisture from the filling, the crust will not be soggy. Because of this, mealy dough is used for the crust in custard and fruit pies.

^^J Elegant Desserts Pies and tarts make elegant, tasty desserts for all occasions. What type of pie dough do you think was used for this pie?

Shaping Pie Dough

It is important not to overmix pie dough. To keep the dough flaky, pie dough should normally be mixed by hand. Pastry flour should be sifted together with the salt before mixing to lessen clumping. Next, the fat is cut or rubbed into the flour until the fat is the size of peas. The cold liquid is then added, and all ingredients are mixed until the dough holds together.

Dough should be covered with plastic wrap and chilled before using it. Some chefs refrigerate the dough overnight so that the gluten can relax. This allows the dough and fat to firm for easy handling and rolling. Because pie dough should not be kept refrigerated longer than one week, the dough can also be frozen in 8- to 10-ounce portions. If you will freeze the dough, wrap it in air-tight packaging, label and date it, and defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before use.

The mixing method for both flaky and mealy dough varies only slightly, or a little bit. The fat is cut or rubbed into the sifted flour for both kinds of dough. However, the fat in flaky dough is left in pieces the size of walnuts or peas, while the fat in mealy dough is blended to a cornmeal-like consistency. The larger pieces of fat determine the flakiness of the dough.

After the dough has been chilled, it is ready to be shaped. If the dough is too cold, allow it to soften slightly before you work with it.

Scaling the Dough

For a 9-inch top crust, use 7 ounces of dough. For a 9-inch bottom crust, use 8 ounces of dough. Add 1 ounce of dough to the top crust and 2 ounces of dough to the bottom crust for each additional inch of crust diameter.


Dust the bench and rolling pin with flour. To dust is to sprinkle very lightly with flour. Do not use too much flour when you dust the bench and rolling pin. Flour makes the dough tougher.

Rolling and Panning

Roll the dough to a round shape V8-inch thickness all over, after lightly flattening it. Roll the dough from the center to the outer edges in all directions. Check the dough occasionally to be sure it is not sticking.

Roll the dough tightly around the rolling pin to lift it without breaking. Unroll the dough into the pan. Without stretching the dough, press it into the sides of the pie pan. Avoid air bubbles between the pan and the dough.

Fluting Single-Crust Pies

Fluting the edges of the crust gives a nice finish to the pie. Fluting is a manner of decorating the crust by making uniform folds around the edge of the pie. Fold under the extra dough extending beyond the edge of the pan and bring it above the pan's rim, even with the edge. Press your thumbs together diagonally to make a ridge around the dough.

Sealing and Fluting Two-Crust Pies

Place the cold filling in the bottom crust, and then place the top crust on top of the filling. Use a small amount of water or egg wash to moisten the edge of the bottom crust, and seal the two crusts together. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the bottom crust. Flute the crust and apply an egg wash or a glaze to the top crust if desired.

Baking Pie Shells

Sometimes bakers bake pie shells in advance, which is known as baking blind. The dough is fitted into a pan and pierced with fork tines or a dough docker so that blisters will not form in the dough as it bakes. An empty pie pan is placed on top of the dough and turned upside down to bake. Another method is lining the shell with parchment paper and filling the shell with dried beans or pastry weights.

are the two types of pie dough?

The pie dough is made not only to be the base of the pie, but also to create a shell to contain the filling. The filling is a sweet mixture of different ingredients that makes up the center of the pie and is covered by the pastry.

Pie Fillings

A variety of fruit, custard, and cream pie fillings can be used. Pie fillings can be topped with many food items, such as meringue, whipped cream, and marshmallows.

Cooked Fruit Fillings

Cooked fruit fillings can be purchased ahead of time, or made on the premises. Ready-made fillings are purchased in 10-pound cans or 20- to 45-pound pails for commercial use.

The fruit filling must cool before it is added to the unbaked shells. Fruit pies are baked between 400°F and 425°F (204°C and 218°C) until the crust has an even, golden brown color.

Types of Starches

Various starches are used to thicken pie fillings.

• Cornstarch sets up a gel that allows the filling to hold its shape when sliced.

• Modified starch, also called waxy maize, is a type of corn product that will not break down when frozen.

• Tapioca or flour starches are less often used because they cloud the pie filling.

• Pregelatinized starch is precooked, and can be used if the fruit does not need to be cooked before filling the pie shell.

Cream Pie Fillings

Cream pies are filled with flavored pastry cream, which is a cornstarch-thickened egg custard. The filling is cooked on the range and then placed in a pre-baked crust. Often, cream pies are topped with a meringue.

Basic Pie Dough



12 oz. Flour, pastry

Shortening, vegetable y4 oz. Salt

4 oz. Water, ice-cold

0-1 oz. Dried milk solids _(optional)_

International Flavor

Many different cultures use a form of pie dough to make savory dishes. Use the Internet to research these recipes, and write a half-page report on your findings. j Steak and kidney pie (England)

Method of Preparation

1. Gather the equipment and scale the ingredients.

2. Sift the flour to aerate it, removing lumps and impurities.

3. Rub the shortening, by hand, into the flour.

4. Dissolve the salt in the cold water.

5. Incorporate the water into the flour until it is sticky. Do not overwork the dough.

6. Allow the dough to rest and chill properly, preferably overnight.

7. Divide the dough into 3 8-oz. portions.

8. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured pastry cloth. Roll the dough to about a Va-in. thickness in a circular form. The dough should be about 1 in. larger than the inverted pie pan.

9. Fold the rolled-out dough in half and carefully place the dough over half the pie pan. Unfold the dough to cover the entire rim of the pie pan. Gently pat the dough from the center of the pan out to work out any air bubbles under the crust.

Cooking Technique


1. Prepare the components to be combined.

2. Add one to the other, using the appropriate mixing method

Chef Notes

The dry milk solids can be sifted at the beginning with the pastry flour. The process would be continued in the same manner.

Substitutions j Add 1 oz. of sugar to slightly sweeten the taste of the dough.


Aerate to add air to flour by agitating it Cut or Rub to mix in fat with flour Inverted upside down


Refrigerate pie dough no longer than one week

Hazardous Foods ^k Nutrition

• Vegetable shortening

Calories 140 Calories from Fat 80 Total Fat 9g Saturated Fat 2.5g Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 120mg Total Carbohydrate 11g Fiber 0g Sugars 0g Protein 1g


Custard pie fillings are made with eggs. For custard and soft pies, the unbaked crust is filled with uncooked filling, and then both are baked together. Sometimes a crumb crust is used. When the pie bakes, the egg protein firms the pie. Do not overcook the filling. Begin the baking process in a hot oven at 400°F to 425°F (204°C to 218°C) for the first 10 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to between 325°F and 350°F (163°C and 177°C).

Soft Pies

Soft pies also have eggs in them that firm the pie when it bakes. Pecan is a type of soft pie.

Chiffon Pies

Chiffon pies are based on either cooked fruit or cream filling stabilized with gelatin. Then, a meringue is folded in. The filling is then placed in a prebaked shell and chilled.


Review Key Concepts

1. Identify the basic ingredients of a pie dough.

2. Describe how to check for pie doneness.

Practice Culinary Academics ^^ English Language Arts

3. Imagine that you are compiling a food reference book, and you are working on the pie section. Research one type of pie and then use the information you find to write up a reference-style entry on that type of pie.

NCTE 8 Use information resources to gather information and create and communicate knowledge.

Social Studies

4. Research the history of pie and create a time line of historical events that have to do with pie or its ingredients. Display your time lines in class and compare them and see which events each student has included.

NCSS II B Time, Continuity, and Change Apply key concepts such as time, chronology, and change to explain patterns of historical change and continuity.

Baking Pies

For the first 10 minutes, pies should be baked at 400°F to 425°F (204°C to 218°C). Fruit pies, however, are baked in high heat for the entire baking period. Reduce the temperature after the first 10 minutes for custard pies.

Determine Doneness

Custard or soft pies are done if no liquid shakes. The best way to judge if a fruit pie has finished baking is to follow formula guidelines.

Storing and Serving Pies

Custard pies and cream pies must be refrigerated. A baked fruit pie can be kept at room temperature for serving. Unbaked pie shells or unbaked fruit pies may be frozen for as long as two months.

UlllUlSlIiUd Explain How do you know a pie is done?

^^ Mathematics

5. A freshly baked cherry pie is exactly 9 V2 inches in diameter. If the pie is cut into eight perfectly equal slices, what is the perimeter of each slice?

Circumference Calculate the circumference (Q of a circle as C = nd, where d = the circle's diameter and n = 3.14.

Starting Hint Picture a circle divided into eight equal wedges. Two of the sides (the straight ones, coming to a point in the circle's center) of each wedge will be equal to the radius of the circle, or V2 the diameter. The third, curved, side will equal Vs of the circle's circumference.

NCTM Geometry Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems.

/¡ft Check your answers at this book's Online trS9 |_earnjng Centeratglencoe.com.


Specialty Desserts

Reading Guide

Specialty desserts can make the end of any meal special.

Before You Read

Get Your Rest The more well rested and alert you are when you sit down to study, the more likely you will be to remember the information later. Studying in the same state of mind as when you are likely to take a test (fully rested and mentally sharp) will help to ensure your best performance.

Content Vocabulary

Read to Learn

Key Concepts

• Compare and contrast the methods for making and storing specialty desserts.

Main Idea

Specialty desserts include frozen desserts, custards, and puddings. A skilled chef can make desserts with a high-quality appearance, texture, and taste.

Graphic Organizer

As you read, use a matrix like the one below to list the various specialty desserts in their proper category.

• custard-style

• pudding

ice cream

• stirred

• American-style


ice cream

• Bavarian

• frozen yogurt

• mousse

• sherbet

• parfait

• sorbet

• sundae

• custard

• alternative • substituted

Frozen Desserts

Custards and Puddings

Bavarians, Chiffons, and Mousses





/S^ Graphic Organizer Go to this book's Online Learning Center at glencoe.com for a printable graphic organizer.

^ English Language Arts

NCTE 7 Conduct research and gather, evaluate, and synthesize data to communicate discoveries.

j" Mathematics

NCTM Data Analysis and Probability Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.


NSESB Develop an understanding of the structure and properties of matter.

Social Studies

NCSS IX A Global Connections Explain how cultural elements can facilitate global understanding.

NCTE National Council of Teachers of English

NCTM National Council of Teachers of Mathematics NSES National Science Education Standards

NCSS National Council for the Social Studies

Continue reading here: Specialty Dessert Types

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