Tips from the Pie Lady
Q: My fruit pie is under baked, the crust is doughy what can I do?
A: Use a higher heat in your oven to set the crust. 410 to 425 degrees is normally good. Also try using a glass or dark metal pie tin. Be sure the filling is cold before adding it to the crust.
Q: My crust burns around the rim but the center of the crust and bottom are not done. What should I do?
A: Brush or rub a 50/50 blend of egg and milk on the top crust (excluding the crust crimp). Before baking, cover the pie rim with aluminum foil to prevent the crimp from getting too dark.
Q: My fruit filling is loose and runny. What can I do?
A: The fruit filling has probably not been cooked long enough. It is important that the thickener you used is heated enough to activate during baking. Try this baking method:
- Preheat oven to 410-425 degrees (350-375 degrees for a convection oven).
- It is critical to have a hot oven. Make sure your oven is clean and calibrated.
- Place pie on baking sheet with parchment paper to catch any boil over.
- Bake 55 to 65 minutes, depending on the oven.
- After 50 minutes of baking, check the pie every 2 minutes for proper browning. Adjust the time and temperature as necessary.
- The top crust should be medium to dark brown and the filling and topping will be bubbling under the crust. The pie will look like it is pulsing up and down when it is ready to come out of oven.
- Remove pie from oven and cool completely before slicing (at least two hours).
Q: My whipped cream does not whip up thick enough to form peaks.
A: Be sure to use extra heavy whipping cream that is at least 3 days old. Chill bowl and mixer whip attachment. Set both in the freezer for 30 minutes before beginning the whipping process.
Q: I find it hard to roll the dough out and my pastry is not flaky after baking.
A: The secret to good flaky dough is to handle it as little as possible and to keep it cool. Start by using shortening slightly below room temperature, ice water and chilled flour. Use as little flour dust as possible when rolling out dough. Too much flour makes dough tough. Lift the dough and turn. Make sure it does not stick as you form a circle.
Q: My custard and pumpkin pies are sunken in the center after baking.
A: After you place the pie in the oven, bake for about 10 minutes and it will start to form a thin skin on top. Then add additional filling to the pie. Pour filling slowly with the pie in the oven, adding until the pie crust is full.
Q: I can taste grainy sugar in my whipped cream and meringue. What’s the problem?
A: Try using super fine sugar or raw sugar instead of regular sugar. Granulated sugar does not dissolve completely in whipping cream and meringue.
Q: When I make fresh strawberry pie, the crust shrinks down into my tin as I blind bake it and the crust becomes soggy from the strawberries after it is finished.
A: Blind bake your bottom crust by baking the shell with two tins: one on the bottom and one on the top of the crust. To start, place the shell up side down in the oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the crust and tins up and finish baking the crust until desired color is seen. Brush baked crust about 3 minutes out of oven with a bit of butter to moisture-proof it.
Q: My blackberry and blueberry pie fillings seem to look like jam after they are baked. How can I keep the integrity of the fruit?
A: Use berries no more than one day after purchasing them. Mix all berry filling very carefully by gently flipping berries, sugar and starch slurry together. Do not stir or smash.
Q: My meringue pies shrink and weep after being baked and cut. How do I fix a weeping meringue?
A: Meringue will stand up high and perfect if you add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to every 3 egg whites. Avoid creating a meringue if the weather is humid. This also causes weeping meringues.