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A Bad Day for Piecrust

Submitted by on February 1, 2010 – 9:14 pm2 Comments

Honestly, I’ve never understood the complaining that folks do about Piecrust, or why anyone in their right mind who had a cooking bone in their body would use a store bought Piecrust. I’ve always used a trusty Betty Crocker recipe, and never had one ounce of trouble with it. It turns out moist, buttery, yummy, is easy to roll, easy to transfer to the pan, easy to cut with cookie cutters and make grand designs….


I don’t know what in the world was going on last night. I had one darn awful time making pie crust. It just was a veritable disaster. I started out with a new recipe from a cookbook that a friend of mine swears by. I even saw a beautiful picture of the pie that she made using the piecrust recipe I used. Hers came out absolutely gorgeous. Mine came out un-rollable. I knew something was wrong when the recipe called for 1/4 cup of water, and after 1 Tbsp the crust was so moist I was thinking to myself “this can’t be right”…yet I continued on w/the exact measurements. I went back and read all the ingredients and portions 3X, yes..that’s what I did. I looked at the empty cups on the counter. Yes, that’s the amount I used. I chilled it. I tried to roll it. This is what I got:

OK. So, I gathered all that up, rolled it into a ball and put it back into the fridge.

Then I pulled out my “tried and trusted” recipe, because obviously, the recipe my friend told me worked so great for her was not right…or she forgot to tell me about the error in some portion or something…at least that’s what I figured.

So, out comes the Betty Crocker cookbook. The one I ‘ve been using for years. The one that the Piecrust recipe “page” is hard from all the ingredients that have splashed on it over the years. My trusted recipe that I know works, my fallback guy.

And what happens?!? I don’t know what was going on, but that darn dough came out hard as a rock. I could hardly roll it. I knew I was in trouble when at the 7th Tbsp the dough hadn’t even gotten to the point I could keep it in a ball. Usually this happens at 6 Tbsp. I had to add 11 Tbsp to get it to “gel”. Read that — 11!

Was it the atmosphere? Was it that I bought some generic flour that needs to never be used for anything ever again? Was it that….wait now. Maybe I should NOT use my new handy/dandy Kitchenaid mixer to make dough. Could that be it?  Are stand mixers bad news for Piecrust?

OK…those of you who know Piecrust. Did I overwork the dough with the mixer? How would that explain one overly moist dough and one overly dry dough though? I’m am still just mystified.

I was still able to make a pie from each. After keeping the moist dough in the fridge for 3 hours, and working fast, and scraping it up from the table with a cake lifter instead of rolling it on the pin, I got the super moist dough into a pan. The dough was so crumbly it was odd, but since I made a lemon meringue pie with that, it was ok.  Just ok mind you. I was not actually pleased with the results.

The dry dough became a coconut cream pie. Nevermind I had to lift the entire pie crust out of the pie pan (oh yes, it was that stiff…) and then cut the pie on a cutting board with a butcher knife — pressing with my full hand to get the knife to pass through the cemented crust. The people who ate it said “well, it tastes good, just imagine the crust is a biscotti!” Good thing they have a positive outlook.

What a night.

I won’t be sharing these recipes until I figure out what in the world is going on. This one gets filed under Cooking Tragedies. Hopefully I won’t have too many more things end up here, but it’s inevitable I guess.


  • Margie says:

    I’ve always been afraid of making pie crust and now I really am!

  • Holly says:

    Mindy, I love your Baking in Dallas Site! I hate to admit this, but I have never made a pie crust from scratch. The Pillsbury all-ready ones have always worked so well, but I DO want to learn how to make a good one. I have always wanted to make a cobbler! I enjoy reading and seeing all that you do! Very Tasteful!

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