Ask Evan: Why Did My Pie Crust Fail?

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Every week I answer a question from a Good Food listener. You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here. This week’s question comes from Katie:

I just made a double-crust pie for the first time (inspired by Good Food to just go for it) and it turned out lopsided. Half the crust unfurled and expanded and pushed down over the side of the pan. Why is this? Thanks!

I will try to diagnose your problem without  seeing a picture of the pie .  I imagine that you made an all-butter crust.  Butter melts at a relatively low temperature which is part of your problem.  If you haven’t been scrupulous about keeping all your ingredients cold and you take awhile to roll out the dough then the butter can start to heat up and melt even before it goes into the oven.  So once it hits the oven, the crust just kind of slithers apart.

Substituting  a bit of vegetable shortening or lard which have higher melting points can help your crust keep its shape while baking.  Even just 2-3 tablespoons will make a difference.  If you want to use all butter then you must become very active about refrigerating your crust the second you see the butter start to break through as you roll.  Even if you’re not done rolling, the crust might need just 10 minutes to reset in the cold.  Also, try freezing the bottom crust while you roll out the top crust, before you add the filling.  Then you can make the filling, pull the pie out of the freezer.  Add the filling.  Take the top crust out of the refrigerator.  CRIMP THE EDGES TOGETHER FORCEFULLY, so they won’t unfurl. then freeze the pie even for another 10 minutes before finally popping it into the oven.   Let me know how the next one comes out.