How to Make a Flaky Pie Crust

Some very interesting reactions to the below post on making cherry pie. Several comments on the sour cherries, but also quite a few questions about the crust. How do you get it so flaky? The answer is fairly straightforward: leave some large-ish pieces of fat in the dough. The logical follow-up question is: what good does that do? For that we need to back up a little.

The American pie crust is a schizophrenic creation. As Alton Brown once observed on his groundbreaking food science show Good Eats, Americans demand that their pie crusts be both tender AND flaky, which is something of a contradiction in terms. Flakiness partly a product of dryness, but also of a heterogenous dough mixture, with large, unevenly distributed fat pockets of varying sizes that roll out into layers as the crust is shaped. When the crust bakes up, the fat melts, leaving hundreds of tiny strata that cause the finished crust to break into flakes when it’s cut (or chewed). Laminated doughs, like croissant or Danish dough, are created specifically to exaggerate this fat-layer-induced flaking effect.

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Pie is Not Scary

We all lament the passing of The Great Age of Pie. We remember our grandmothers and the way they seemed to turn out pies almost effortlessly, and wonder a.) whether our grandma’s were technical geniuses, or b.) when exactly it happened that something as easy as pie got to be so darn hard. The fact […]

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