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Home Cooking 21

What's going on with my pie crusts?

thursday | Dec 1, 201001:41 PM

I don't really have the counter space to roll out pie crusts, so I usually buy the ones from Trader Joe's. TJs used to use pure butter in their crusts and have now switched to a mix of butter and palm oil, but frankly I have this problem even with the rare homemade crust and the change in TJs ingredients hasn't made any difference on this end.

Every. Single. Time. I try to make the pie crust look pretty, as soon as I put it in the oven, it melts. I did a beautiful stand-up fluting for my deep dish pecan pie this Thanksgiving, and the whole thing fell - the crust turned into a flat circle around the plate and the tall parts hung straight down off the edges like a dough awning and snapped off when I took it out of the oven. Pathetic. For the pumpkin pie, I decided to forgo the pretty fluting for that reason, trimmed off the excess, and just pressed a fork into the flat dough. Even the tine marks melted away into a flat blob of boring crust. What is going on? The beautiful pecan pie crust was frozen first to try to preserve the edging, but that didn't work; the pumpkin was put into a hotter oven first to try to flash-cook it (400 or 425 for 10 mins instead of the pecan's 350) and that didn't work either. Is it just the Trader Joe's recipe? I haven't made my own crust since we moved to the smaller kitchen a few years ago, but I do seem to remember my own all-butter crusts having similar issues. What's the secret to keeping a pretty edge?

And while we're on the topic - is anyone else having a serious issue with TJ's crusts leaking major oil? I'm assuming it's the palm oil in the new formulation, but that pecan pie, since there was so much crust hanging off, was literally sitting in a massive puddle of oil in its cookie sheet - I couldn't even hold the pie plate on my lap in the car, but had to wrap it in paper towels and put it in a plastic bag because it was covered in so much grease.

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