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What happened to my Shaker Pie? (soggy then tough crust)

Eachna | Dec 25, 201405:32 PM

I've moved to Australia and was obligated to make a fruitcake for Christmas dinner. Since I hate fruitcake, I decided to also make a Shaker lemon pie for myself.

The pie crust is disgusting. It's hard as a rock and make a thunking sound when I tap it with my fork or knuckle. I tried a slice and the filling itself tastes fine, but the crust is very hard and kind of "chewy". It's so hard it can't be cut except by using extreme force, with either a butter knife or a fork.

I have a Sharp convection microwave. When baking in it I either use "low mixed mode" which is a combination of convection oven baking and small bursts of microwave cooking, or I use "convection" which is purely convection baking. I have a Sharp maual/cookbook

Pastry recipe:
1 1/4 cups plain (all purpose) flour
8 Tbsp salted butter
1 1/2 tsp sugar
a few tablespoons iced water

I made two batches for the top and bottom crusts.

It's high sumemr here and it was raining heavily when I made the crust. The day was warm and very humid.

I grated the butter while frozen using a box grater, then returned the slivers to the freezer for an hour to re-set. Once set, I added the flour and sugar and dribbled ice water in, mixing it with a fork. Since the butter had been grated, I didn't do anything that would breake the pieces down to be smaller, I just mixed lightly. Once the dough would stay in a clumpy ball that still had dryish visible bits, I put it in the fridge for an hour to chill again, and rest. After that hour I rolled out the bottom crust and blind baked it for 7 mins on low mixed-mode 200C (as per the directions in my manual).

While the bottom crust was baking I rolled out the top crust. After it came out of the oven I immediately added the filling and the top crust.

My manual/cookbook doesn't have an example for a covered pie, so I referred to my orirginal recipe for my pie: Bake @ 450F for 15 minutes, reduce to 375F for 25 min more.

450 is 430 to account for convection baking which is about 210 C
375 is 355 to account for convection baking which is about 180 C.

I bed it on convection at 210C for 15 minutes. Then I set it to 180C and convection baked it for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes I checked it. It had a soggy ring-like puddle of visible butter along the outside top edge near where the two crusts were crimped together. It lookied like all the exposed butter in the top crust had melted and puddled, instead of 'steaming' out. It was only _just_ starting to brown on the crimped edges and the center still had some of that "unbaked dough" slight transparency, so I put it in for 10 more minutes @ 180C.

It still had a ring of unmelted butter on the top but it was much browner and I was worried about burning it if I baked it any longer. I took it out and sopped up the butter with a paper towel, then let the pie cool on the counter. Now the crust is hideous.

I'm not sure what went wrong. I usually make uncovered pies like pecan pies in the convection microwave, and when I blind bake them and cook them until the filling is cooked the crust is fine.

Do I need to chill the crust again after rolling? Is it possible I used too much butter (I use American measuring cups/spoons and sometimes measurements are slightly off with Australian products)? Do I need to adjust my temperatures up or down? Should I bake the pie at one temperature?

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