Preparing Pies and Tarts

Preparing Pies and Tarts

Although pies and tarts are alike in terms of the dough and fillings that are used, there are some differences. Pies are generally double-crusted (having top and bottom crusts) and are baked in a relatively deep pan with sloping sides to accommodate large amounts of filling. Tarts are usually prepared in thin, straight-sided pans, often with removable bottoms. Tarts (and tartlets) most often have a single crust and are not as deep as pies.

Lining a Pie Plate or Tart Mold

The dough should be rolled out in a circle that is large enough to fit into the pan, covering the bottom and sides, with an inch or so of overhang. Brush away all flour from the upper surface, then fold the dough in half, and brush away any excess flour on the bottom. With the dough still folded in half or draped over the rolling pin, transfer the dough to a pan and fit it gently into the pan's corner. Use a ball of scrap dough to press out any air pockets, Trim away the excess dough, At this point, the pie is ready to fill, or you may want to bake the crust "blind".

Baking Blind

The procedure for preparing a pre-baked pie shell is known as baking blind. The dough is prepared, rolled out, and fitted into the pan. The dough is pierced in several places with the tines of a fork (known as docking) to prevent blisters from forming in the dough as it bakes.

The pastry is then covered with parchment paper and an empty pie pan is set on top of the paper (this is known as "double panning"). The pans are placed upside down in the oven. This procedure prevents the dough from shrinking back down the pan's edges and keeps it from blistering. The dough is baked in a moderate oven until it is set, appears dry, and has a light golden color.

Another method is to place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough after docking and then fill it with pie weights or dried beans before baking. Once the shell is baked, it may be coated with melted chocolate or an apricot glaze to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. This also adds additional flavor to the finished pie or tart. Be sure however, that the flavor you introduce is appropriate to the particular food.

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