Choosing a flaky pie crust or a mealy pie crust for you pie can mean the difference between pie pride and pie purgatory. It’s not that you need different recipes for the two types of pie crust, you just need to employ two different methods.
Flaky pie crust will absorb more moisture than a mealy pie crust. Thus, they’re best used for a top crust or lattice design. The flaky variety is also great for cold pies when pre-baked and filled with mousse or cream fillings.
Mealy pie crusts are more resistant to absorbing moisture and are best used for cooked fruit or fresh fruit pies to avoid a soggy bottom. Where the home baker can experience disappointment is in using a flaky pie crust for a cooked fruit pie. The longer baking time allows the dough to absorb the liquid, resulting in a weepy pie.
What’s the difference between these two types of pie dough? Very simply, it’s the size of the fat. The first step in making a crust is cutting fat directly into flour. Your Grandmother did this with two forks or the potato masher, but I use an electric mixer.
The larger the pieces of fat, the larger the ‘holes’ left when fat melts during baking. The larger the ‘holes’ in your dough, the more air-space, and the flakier the resulting product. A flaky pie crust is made with pea-sized fat mixed into the flour.
Mealy pie crusts are made from a fat and flour mixture that more resembles coarse corn meal. The pieces of fat are very small, making a more dense dough, and resisting the urge to absorb moisture.
The easiest pie dough recipe in the world is this: “1, 2, 3”. One part water, two parts fat, three parts flour makes any crust you’d like and in any quantity.
If you’re trying to make a flaky pie crust or a mealy one, the recipe really doesn’t matter. What is of the greatest importance is the METHOD you use to create the dough. Pea sized pieces of fat in flour will give you a more flaky texture. Coarse sand texture in the mixture will give you a mealy crust for use in wetter fillings.
When you learn to cook, you have power over all recipes because you understand the basic methods behind them.
Do you have a soggy bottom pie story? Leave your comment below and give everyone a good laugh.
Discover the "Baking How-To" in the FREE Class
Tags: flaky pie crust