How to achieve a flaky crust and firm filling from Mims Bledsoe at Atlanta’s The Pie Shop.
No holiday table is complete without a pie, but rolling out dough, deciding on a filling and creating that perfect lattice top are no easy task. We decided to ask the owner of The Pie Shop — whose delectable photos on Instagram will have you craving pie all day long — for some tips. Founded by Mims Bledsoe in 2010, the shop aims to preserve an important food tradition by hand-rolling their secret recipe for pie dough each morning. Their pie menu changes every two month, and this week they’re slicing Bourbon Pecan, Coconut Cream, Cranberry Apple, Sweet Potato With Brown Sugar Streusel and Chocolate Chip Pecan.
1. Don’t overwork the dough! You should see big pieces of butter still in the dough after blending it.
2. Work with cold ingredients. As a beginner, you can freeze the butter to give you more time to work with the dough. Melted butter equals tough crust.
3. The basic components of good crust are low-gluten flour (White Lily is preferred), acid to inhibit gluten, chunks of fat for flakiness, sugar for browning and eggs for workability.
4. This is personal for each pie baker, but my preferred fat is butter all the way.
5. Keep the moisture low — only add as much water as you absolutely need to in order to be able to work with the dough and not have it fall apart. Wet dough equals tough crust.
6. When rolling out the dough, turn, flip and rotate constantly to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. Work quickly and roll from the center outward, never from one end to the other.
7. For fruit fillings, don’t add too much sugar. It will mask the fruit.
8. Whether you use cornstarch, tapioca or flour, make sure the filling boils in the oven or else you will end up with fruit soup.
9. For cream fillings, cook over low heat for a long time to bring to a boil slowly. Don’t let it boil for more than a minute or you will end up with rubber. Scrape the bottom of the pot constantly.
10. For custard fillings, bake only until center is wobbly. Pie will continue to bake itself through to the center as it cools.