Â When you need to roll out a pie crust – or any type of dough – the single most important thing to have is a flat surface. A marble slabÂ is often the first choice of serious pie bakers because the stone does not retain heat and the dough you are working will remain cool, with its butter unmelted, as you work. I use a large wooden cutting board, but anything large enough – including most kitchen counters – will work well. To keep your dough from sticking while you work, generously flour the board or line yours with parchment paper. Make sure to flour your rolling pin, too.
The process is much easier than it sounds, although things can get a little floury in the kitchen if you’re not careful. There are a couple of pieces of kitchen equipment designed to make the crust-rolling process easier. A Pie Crust Bag could be just the ticket to streamline the process if you’re uncomfortable with getting your hands (or kitchen) dirty. The bag is built for rolling dough out into circles of up to 14-inches. It zips shut and floured dough can be rolled into a neat crust with little-to-no actual handling.
After this point, the most difficult thing is making sure that your pie crust will fit the pie plate without any gaps from which filling can escape. I tend to eyeball the crust, holding the pie plate upside down over the flattened dough to see if I have left enough of a border to cover the sides of the pie. This can be tricky to do if you haven’t made many pies, which is why rolling matsÂ exist. These mats are nonstick andÂ have circles of different diameters marked right on them – 4 to 14-inches – so you don’t have to “eyeball” your dough and guess whether it will fit in your pan.
mooncrazyAugust 17, 2007
Nicole, this is such a great quick tip for pie crust I’d like to link to it from our site.
Deb SchiffAugust 17, 2007
This is so timely! I have two pie crusts chilling in the fridge as I write this reply.
I have one of those silicone mats, and I have to say that while they’re handy for rolling out to size, they’re not as non-stick as they say they are. And, the King Arthur mat is rather large, so it’s not easy to clean it in our sink. However, I do use it because it’s better than using the counter top, which, regrettably, is not marble. Maybe in the next house, eh?
Have a wonderful weekend! As always, love you blog!
StephanieAugust 17, 2007
I’m fairly new to (really good) baking, but must say that I have conquered the pie crust thanks to the tools you mention!
I have muscular dystrophy that affects my hands and wrists, I use BOTH the pie crust bag, and a rolling mat and love them so much, and can’t recommend them enough, and would probably use them if I didn’t have coordination issues.
The bag makes transferring the crust to the pie plate much simpler when you have dexterity issues, and the mat is awesome for sizing anything from pie crust to bread dough and cinnamon rolls. For their cheap price I find them invaluable kitchen gadets.
Granted I also use Dorie Greenspan’s Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough, and that definitely makes taking the time to make pie worthwhile! Just had a piece of cherry pie an hour ago! Yum!
dksbookAugust 18, 2007
Y’all, I used a pie crust bag for years and years, until the zipper on my (by then) stiff and hard bag broke. I had become dependent on the dang thing, so I decided to try to do it without the bag, and now I can say I can just whip out a pie crust in a one, two three. It is now easy as pie to do. I use one of those big bread boards with the backsplash which I bought in Germany if I have to make a lot of crusts, but for just one I use the old kitchen counter, a long rolling pin (no handles)and about 1 T extra flour. Speed is the trick, I think. Then I fold the crust into fourths, lightly, and put it in the pan. I tried, years ago, a rolling mat, but gave it to the Goodwill after a few tries. I just try to work fast with a cool dough.
But I can’t recommend a pie crust bag enough if you are a beginner, or like to work with deliberation and care.
My mother-in-law, before she died, made 3 pies every Sunday, and more on holidays. I figure she made thousands in her 60 years of marriage. But she took her recipe out of the box each time she made pies, made each crust separately, and cleaned her oven afterward each time, too. Talk about deliberation and care!
PhilAugust 18, 2007
I was just finishing a blog post for a pie that had unruly crust/dough. I really liked your run down of techniques, tips, and gadgets. My mom would roll our her pie dough on a wooden plank, and then slide it off onto (and into) the pie mould.