Easy as Pie....NOT!
August 1, 2011 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Why did my piecrust stick to the pan? and other pie dilemmas..

I made a lovely peach cream pie, with an all-butter (food processor) single crust. I did not pre-bake the pastry as the recipe did not call for me to do so. It tasted great, but was not pretty when cut.....the crust, especially at the fluted rim, did not want to let go of the pan (an unglazed ceramic deep dish pie plate). I did not grease the pie plate (all butter crust doesn't need more grease, me thinks!) as neither crust recipe or pie recipe called for greasing or flouring. I froze the pastry lined dish for 15 minutes before filling, as recommended in the recipe. I have a feeling it was something to do with this particular pie plate which I never before used with a home made crust. Also, while I am on the subject of pies....I always struggle with the fluted edge baking too quickly. tin foil is cumbersome, especially when pie first goes in and pastry still soft and pie not yet set. I have bought every product for covering the fluting (silicon, aluminum rings) but even the larger one doesn't cover the entire fluted rim for larger pie dishes. I guess an alternative is making smaller pies, but if I am going to all the trouble to make a pie, I'd prefer to have more, not less! All pie-making tips will be appreciated, but especially seeking solutions for the stuck crust and too-dark rims.
posted by Lylo to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Kitchn had a thing today about aluminum foil and pie crust edges.

I use this kind of pie pan (glass with some sort of nonstick something or other) and I've never had any sort of sticking problem. They're also extremely easy to clean, even those unfortunate times when the filling bubbles up and over the sides.

My guess is that your crust kind of cooks itself into the unglazed ceramic (being a porous surface) and causes the sticking. And fluted sides just add to the complexity so there's more surface area to stick to. So, it's not the pie's fault (recipe or construction), but the fault of the thing you baked it in.
posted by phunniemee at 9:56 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

If the aluminum ring doesn't fit, I think that definitely points towards the pie-dish being the problem .. We use a ring regularly on our ceramic and glass pie pans and the cheap disposable pie pans with 100% success..
posted by k5.user at 10:04 AM on August 1, 2011

I really really really like pie.

I find that unglazed ceramic really, *really* needs to be greased for crusts to release easily. Stupid, yes, but the surface has so many pores that the crust just wants to sink into them. It's like velcro for pastry if you don't pre-grease. I find that you don't need to grease and flour—just greasing is enough.

Unless your kitchen is very hot, I don't think you need to freeze the lined dish for that long, either. The freezer for ten minutes, or the fridge for fifteen, should be enough to firm it. You may be actually starting to freeze its surfaces (and freezing its bottom side to the plate). I'd worry about the ceramic cracking, too, as it hits the oven if it's that cold.

Try baking your pies on a stone or at least a preheated baking sheet, too, to get the bottom cooked quickly without melting and sinking into the ceramic.

Overbrowning edges: If this is a problem in your oven, tinfoil is the only way to go. Try it this way: wait until the edges are cooked before shielding them. When they're just shy of the degree of doneness/brownness you like, reach in and hang loose arcing half pipes made of several layers of aluminum foil off them (just fold a sheet of aluminum into a long rectangle, give it a bend along its length, and then bend it into a pie circumference segment shape). Remove it five minutes before you're done to recrisp and finish browning the edges. Your pretty fluted edges won't get squashed or stick to the shield.

How do you bake your pies? I like to bake at a high starting temperature (like 450 F) to set the crust right away and then turn down to 375 to cook the fruit and pastry through. I find that this helps with overbrowning edges—the lower heat for longer keeps them from getting too dark.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

I saw that post on The Kitchn, too! The tragically overbrowned edges in the picture are that way because they're super thin and wrapped *around* the rim of the plate. It reminded me—if you are doing this, OP, they will certainly get too brown, and there's no shield in the world that will help. You should be turning the edge *under itself* for a double layer of pastry atop the rim, not a single layer wrapped under the rim. The thicker edge will cook slower (and release from the pan more easily, too).
posted by peachfuzz at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Are your pies bigger than the width of a sheet of foil? If not, you can tear off a sheet and cut a pie-filling-sized hole in it. Then wrap it over the pie before putting it in the oven. Remove to brown the edges when there are only 10 minutes cooking time left. Much easier than putting 4 or 5 separate pieces of foil over the edges and having them fall off.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2011

I can only guess, of course, but I'm thinking that your dough was not short enough. As for the scorching the edges, foil is pretty much your only option.
posted by Gilbert at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2011

I vastly prefer glass (pyrex) pie dishes. I think they bake the crust more evenly, and I've never had a problem with the crust sticking to them.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Grease the pie plate.
posted by Riverine at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2011

Unglazed means that liquid of any kind will seep into the ceramic. When the butter in your piecrust melted, it was soaked up and your pie stuck. If you cook in something non-porous the fats in shortcrust make a film that prevents sticking.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:28 PM on August 1, 2011

You can also back off the sugar and the dairy in your crust to reduce the browning. Sugar can just be eliminated, most of the time. For the dairy - if you use milk, trade some of it for water. If you use cream or sour cream as the "liquid", use water but also increase the other fat (butter, lard) to compensate for the lost fat else your crust will tend towards hard/brittle.
posted by janell at 12:41 PM on August 1, 2011

Lower oven temperatures and thicker pastry edges should cut down on burning, if you don't want to use a shield. I've never tried using a shield, never really had much issue with overbrowning.
posted by aimedwander at 1:13 PM on August 1, 2011

nthing greasing the pie plate. Even when the recipe doesn't call for it.
posted by guster4lovers at 2:54 PM on August 1, 2011

greasing anything never hurts it. spray the hell out of it. after of course you stop using such a porous baking device.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 3:37 PM on August 1, 2011

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