Tough Stuff

Reader K-Line wants to know…

…if the crust, in order to withstand the toasting experience, needs to be durable at the expense of soft and buttery.

Great question, K! The answer is yes, to some extent. Pies baked up in plates can have incredibly tender crusts. However hand pies are meant to be, well…handled. Thus their crusts need to be a little tougher than a normal. Different bakers achieve this end in different ways. Some add more liquid to the dough to increase gluten development (thus making the crust harder and chewier) while others subtract fat to decrease the crumble factor.

Both techniques work well, and when done just right only make the crust as durable as it absolutely needs to be. That’s a subjective judgement, obviously. So my recommendation is to experiment. As you become more experienced making pies like these you’ll learn what you like. Thanks for an excellent question!

5 thoughts on “Tough Stuff”

  1. Thanks for the great answer. I think I’m more inclined to subtract fat than to add liquid because I don’t like chewiness in a crust. I have to say – and I never go to McDonalds, I swear! (except twice a year for the fries and the apple pies) – that apple hand pie manages to have a great crust. Is that heresy?! It holds the gooey apple filling in very well, but still manages to have a tenderness. At least it did the last time I checked. 🙂 I suspect this owes a lot to chemicals, sadly.

    1. The Pastry family is at McDonald’s every Saturday for lunch. We love the place for the most part. I think their hand pies are excellent and their chocolate chip cookies are almost indiscernible from home made. It takes some additives to do that, sure, but every now and again there’s no harm in’em, I don’t think.

      Thanks for your regular readership and comments!

      – Joe

    2. Also, the below crust recipe does exactly that — subtracts fat. Give it a try and let me know!

      – Joe

      1. I will give it a try. I’ve been home for 2 weeks, very sick with a virus, but I’m hoping I’ve turned a corner and that I’ll have the energy, and appetite, to make some homemade pop tarts.

        1. Do it! They’ll put some spring back in the stride, I promise. Get well — that’s an order!

          – Joe

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