6 Tricks for Baking Perfect Pies and Tarts

Feb 19, 2014
Nina L. Palmer

best pies tarts baking tipsFrom classics, such as fruit and custard pies, to new recipes such as frozen pies and mini tartlets, the craft of baking is based on good technique and measurement. To bake perfect pies, cookies, tarts and pastries every time requires learning the fundamentals well. While this can seem a bit overwhelming if you start from scratch in the kitchen, there are always tricks and tips to improve your results. These desserts we love so much were once made daily in many households after all, not necessary in professional kitchens! Follow these 6 proven tips, and you’ll be able to create delicious tarts and pies, even if you’re a total beginner.

  • 1. The best crusts start with butter. Use only butter because it gives the crust a rich, delicious flavor and good color.
  • 2. Use the food processor to mix the dough for pie crusts. It’s quick, easy, efficient, and nearly foolproof.
  • 3. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator. Once you make a dough, let it rest in the refrigerator or freezer so the gluten relaxes, otherwise the dough is elastic and difficult to line in a mold or a baking sheet. This also hardens the butter a bit, which makes rolling easier.
  • 4. Transforming dough from a ball or disk to a uniform round crust, involves a combination of patience and practice. Try flattening the dough between two sheets of parchment paper if it’s easier for you.
  • 5. Blind bake the crust alone first. Though it adds a supplementary step, in many if not most cases prebaking the crust gives better results. For instance, it keeps the crust from getting soggy with fruit juices.
  • 6. When you’re baking a filled pie, always use a cookie or baking sheet; it encourages browning at the bottom and prevents spillovers from sticking onto your oven floor.
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