Fans of “baking shows” know that a soggy bottom, often a leaky, improperly baked pie crust, is the worst thing that can happen to a pie. Although making pie crust from scratch is ideal, most of us don’t have the time or the necessary skills to do so. This is where the use of pre-made pie crust comes in.
But the options are like playing Russian roulette: some are overly sweet, some come apart too quickly, and some are just plain greasy.
What To Avoid
You might be familiar with the simple proportion of 3 parts flour to 1 part fat if you often make pie dough at home. For the convenience of production and use, food makers change this ratio to 2-1 or 1-1.
Higher fat content results in a greasy flavor and structurally flawed pie crust (the soggy bottom).
While protein may not be something we typically connect with pie crust, low-protein goods should be avoided because the dough will be more likely to rip and split. The dough needs enough protein to form a hard crust.
What To Look Out For
Read the list of ingredients. Based on the type of fat utilized, the texture might be short and greasy or flaky and light.
Opt for a product with a fat or oil flavor you enjoy, has a lower total fat content, a more significant percentage of saturated fat, and has some (but not all) butter if flavor is your top priority and you don’t like oily flavors. If you value flaky texture above all else, use dough with a lower fat-to-protein ratio but a larger percentage of saturated fat. Products having some lard or stearin (beef fat) will typically produce firm, flaky crusts if animal fats are not an issue.