Everything You Should Know About Pies
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Everything You Should Know About Pies

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Pie & Pastry Tips

Always use the very best materials in making pastry.

The shortening or butter used should be fresh, sweet and hard.

The water used should be very cold (ice-water is the best).

The paste should be rolled on a cold board and handled as little as possible.

When the crust is made, it makes it much more flaky and it will puff much more if you put it in a dish covered with a cloth and set in a very cold place for half an hour, or even an hour during the summer.

A great improvement is made in pie crust by the addition of about a heaping teaspoon of baking powder to a quart of flour.

If you are interested in making pastry that will rise in leaves or flakes, try brushing the paste as often as rolled out. Your pastry will rise even more if pieces of butter are placed thereon, with the white of an egg.

If currants or raisinsare are to be used in pies, they should be carefully picked over, washed, dried in a towel and dredged with flour before they are suitable for use. Other dried fruits for pies and cakes, should be seeded stoned and dredged with flour before using.

Pie crust, if not frozen, can be kept for a week in a tightly covered dish in a refrigerator.

The crust for any custard pie should always be baked in a deep pan.

In baking custard, pumpkin or squash pies, you should not let mixture to be absorbet by the paste. To avoid that common problem, always partly bake the paste first, that way the mixture cannot be absorbed by the paste. When stewed fruit is used the filling should be perfectly cool when put in, or it will make the bottom crust sodden.

Lemon juice should never be cooked with the corn starch, as the filling will gradually become thinner and the starch will lose its value as a thickening agent.

When particularly juicy fruit, such as berries, cherries, peaches, etc., is used for pie, flour or other starchy material must necessarily be used to thicken the juice and thus prevent it from running out when the pie is served.

To prevent the juice soaking through into the crust, and making it soggy, wet the under crust with the white of an egg, just before you put in the pie mixture. Also if the top of the pie is brushed over with the egg before baking, it gives it a beautiful glaze.

The best way to make puff paste is with the cold butter, because it can be handled more easily and rolled into the paste with greater success if it, as well as the other ingredients, are cold. If the puff paste is made with the ingredients that are not cold, the mixture will have to be placed on ice at various intervals, for it positively must be kept as cold as possible. However, it is always preferable to make puff paste without the assistance of ice.

Great care is requisite in heating an oven for baking pastry. If you can hold your hand in the heated oven while you count twenty, the oven has just the proper temperature and it should be kept at this temperature as long as the pastry is in; this heat will bake to a light brown and will give the pastry a fresh and flaky appearance. If you don't have proper heat in the oven, the under crust will become heavy and clammy and the upper crust will fall in.

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Helpful Tips
In making a pie, after you have rolled out your top crust, cut it about the right size, spread it over with butter, then shake sifted flour over the butter, enough to cover it well. Cut a slit in the middle place it over the top of your pie, and fasten the edges as any pie. Now take the pie on your left hand and a dipper of cold water in your right hand; tip the pie slanting a little, pour over the water sufficiently to rinse off the flour. Enough flour will stick to the butter to fry into the crust, to give it a fine, blistered, flaky look, which many cooks think is much better than rolling the butter into the crust.
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To ice pastry, which is the usual method adopted for fruit tarts and sweet dishes of pastry, put the white of an egg on a plate and beat it to a stiff froth. When the pastry is nearly baked, brush it over with this and sift over some pounded sugar; put it back into the oven to set the glaze and in a few minutes it will be done. Great care should be taken that the paste does not catch or burn in the oven, which is very liable to do after the icing is laid on. You could also make a meringue by adding a tablespoon of white sugar to the beaten white of one egg. Spread over the top and slightly brown in the oven.