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How to Make Pastry Dough

All you need for pie and tart crusts are a must-have recipe and these easy steps for baking pastry.

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Making pastry dough for pies, pastries or tarts is easier than you think.

Pastry Dough Recipe
  • 1 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 2 to 3 tbsp cold water
How to Make Pastry in 3 Simple Steps

Step 1: Easy mixing
  • Use a pastry blender to cut shortening into flour. If you don't have one, use two knives and this technique: holding a knife in each hand with blades almost touching, move knives back and forth in opposite directions in a parallel cutting motion. The side of a fork or a wire whisk works, too.
  • Mix only until all ingredients are worked in. If you overwork pastry dough, it’ll become tough.
  • For easier rolling, after you’ve made the pastry dough and shaped it to a flattened round, wrap it tightly and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or overnight.
Step 2: Nonstick rolling
  • Anchor a pastry cloth or kitchen towel (not terry cloth) around a large cutting board (at least 12 x 12 inches) with masking tape, and use a cloth cover (stockinet) for your rolling pin. Rub flour into both cloths (this will prevent sticking and won’t work flour into the pastry). If you don’t have a rolling pin cover or pastry cloth, rub flour on the rolling pin and your kitchen table, the countertop or a large cutting board.
  • Place pastry dough on a flat surface and start rolling from the center out, lifting and turning pastry occasionally to keep it from sticking. If the pastry begins to stick, rub more flour, a little at a time, on the flat surface and rolling pin.
Step 3: Placing the pastry
  • Fold pastry into fourths, and place it in the pie plate with the point in the center of the plate. Unfold and gently ease into plate, being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.
  • Instead of folding pastry, you can roll pastry loosely around rolling pin and transfer to pie plate. Unroll pastry and ease into plate.
Finishing Touch

Fluting the pastry edge makes your pie crust picture perfect. Choose from these different crimping and fluting techniques:
  • Fork Edge: Flatten pastry evenly on rim of pie plate. Firmly press tines of fork around edge. To prevent sticking, occasionally dip fork into flour.
  • Pinch Edge: Place index finger on inside of pastry rim and thumb and index finger (or knuckles) on outside. Pinch pastry into V shape along edge. Pinch again to sharpen points.
  • Rope Edge: Place side of thumb on pastry rim at an angle. Pinch pastry by pressing the knuckle of your index finger down into pastry toward thumb.
Serving and Storing Your Pies
  • An easy way to cut a pie into an even number of pieces is to cut the pie in half, then into fourths, and then cut each fourth in half before removing a slice.
  • Store pies that contain eggs, such as pumpkin and cream pies, in the refrigerator.
  • You can freeze unbaked pie crusts. Unbaked crusts will keep for 2 months in the freezer. To prevent soggy bottoms, don’t thaw unbaked crusts; bake them right after taking them out of the freezer.
Common Pastry Problems

What if my pastry is:  

Too pale in color 
  • Baked in shiny pan
  • Underbaked
Looks smooth
  • Pastry was handled too much
Bottom crust is soggy
  • Baked in shiny pan
  • Oven temperature too low
Tough
  • Too much water
  • Too much flour
  • Pastry mixed and handled too much
Too tender, falls apart  
  • Too little water
  •  much shortening
Dry and mealy, not flaky  
  • Shortening cut in too finely
  • Too little water

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