Lining a pie pan with crust

Can you make a pie without perfectly lining your pan with the pie crust? Of course! Can you make a French pie without doing it? Hardly.

Lining a pie pan with crust is one of the basic pastry techniques – at least in French cuisine. It’s supposed to make the dough stick on the mold (usually a stainless steel ring) during baking to make the edges of the pie stand straight and the outside of the crust come out neat and sleek.

It’s important to have a well prepared dough to be able to line the crust successfully. If you don’t have a pastry ring, just use your usual pie mould ; a well lined crust will easily come off the mould anyway, but the bottom might lack cooking. Here are a few tips to prepare an excellent pie dough:

  1. Follow you favourite short crust recipe, but whatever method you use, never knead this kind of pie dough. During the kneading process, gluten  structure will begin to form and the crust will end up hard and less friable than it normally should be. It may also shrink and deform during cooking.
  2. It’s very important to mix the flour and the butter thoroughly. Any remaining piece of butter in the dough will melt during the cooking and deform the crust with holes.
  3. Let the dough rest before rolling it. This will give time for the gluten structure to loosen up.
  4. When you roll the dough, don’t overuse flour.
  5. The gluten is also structured during the rolling, so try to manipulate the dough as little as possible.

When your super duper dough is ready, you can begin the lining:

  1. Spread the dough until it’s a few millimeters thick. Then wrap it around your rolling pin. 
  2. Place the dough above you ring mold and unroll it.
  3. Try to place the dough correctly right away, because it might be very difficult (if not impossible) to replace afterwards.
  4. Stick the dough to the circle by pressing it lightly with the back of your forefinger. Work on the entire tour of the circle.
  5. Push the dough inwards to make sure there will be enough of it to finish the edges. Pass the rolling pin on the circle to cut out the extra dough. Place the circle in the refrigerator.
  6. After the dough has cooled down, check that the edges stick on the circle and cut them with a sharp knife.
  7. If you are planning to fill the crust when it’s cooked, prick the bottom with a fork and bake at 170 ° for about 30 minutes. Finalize the edges with a grate before filling the crust.