The Lowdown on Pie Crusts

17 Jun

Someone recently asked me what my favorite thing is to make. That’s a no-brainer: pies. I absolutely love making pies for two reasons:

1) I love using my rolling pin

2) I love the millions of pie fillings you can create

The world of pie crust doughs can be broken down into three types (all with French names because, you know, translating anything into French automatically makes it good ma petite conasse), and when to use them is key to making an absolutely fabulous pie.

Pâte brisée

Blueberry pie with pâte brisée

Blueberry pie with pâte brisée

How it tastes: Rich, buttery flavor with a crisp and layered texture

When to use it: Both sweet and savory pies, quiches etc. My favorite is using it to make blueberry pie, which I’ll be serving up in mini-proportions this Thursday at Taste!

Difficulty: 5/10 (this is your average pie crust dough, it’s not like making a cake, but it’s pretty foolproof.)

Pâte sucrée

Plum tart made with pâte sucrée

Plum tart made with pâte sucrée

How it tastes: sweeter than a pâte brisée and with a lovely cookie crumbly texture

When to use: this crust is best with fruit and cream fillings, if you want to fill a pre-baked crust with a non-bake filling, this one is great.  I made this pie with plums and a vanilla glaze, but honestly, it lacked moisture…would have been perfect with a dollop of whipped cream

Difficulty: 7/10, this dough is much softer than the pâte brisée and more difficult to roll out.  Usually, I just get out the ol´hands and press the dough into the pan…forget the pin on this one!

Pâte sablée:

Lime coconut tart with pâte sablée

Lime coconut tart with pâte sablée

My absolute favorite pie crust ever.

How it tastes: divine, elegant and rustic a la vez. Flaky, sandy and buttery, complete indulgence.

When to use it: this is a great crust to make rustic free-form tarts, think plums scented with vanilla, apples with cinnamon and cloves….

Difficulty: 9/10… this dough is a pain to roll out, but that’s why they invented the word rustic. It’s the perfect cover-up for finicky dough. I used this flaky crust for the lime-coconut tart I made for NOLA chef’s Mexican pop-up this month.

What’s your favorite pie?

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5 Responses to “The Lowdown on Pie Crusts”

  1. Pamela Foye June 17, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    My favorite is a tie between raspberry and blueberry…I’ve never been able to pick one over the other. I remember my grandma’s raspberry pie that came right from her own raspberry patch. She made delicious blueberry pie too and I love making my own overstuffed with blueberries. My husbands favorite is peanut butter pie, a recipe that I created myself. I can’t wait to try making the pate sable crust. I’m going to fill it with fresh picked strawberries from the farm down the road.

    • kvolman June 17, 2012 at 4:11 am #

      Mmmm, I love raspberry pie! For the strawberry pie, I would go with a pâte sucrée, because the cookie texture would go perfectly with the strawberries. But, the raspberries would be perfect for the pâte sablée!

  2. The Melbourne Food Snob June 17, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Call me boring, but I can’t go past a classic apple pie smothered with vanilla custard 🙂

    • kvolman June 17, 2012 at 4:12 am #

      Yummm, that does sounds delicious!

  3. NOLAchef June 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    pumpkin and chocolate silk!! YES, esos! do you think you can make a pumpkin pie here in Buenos Aires, pie master?!

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