2 Tips for No-Shrink Pie Crust + Pie Crust Cookies
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It’s filled with recipes that not only come together quickly, but that also can (and often should) be assembled over the course of several days. Michelle breaks down recipes into parts — think: cake layers, frostings, cookie dough, and pie crust, all of which freeze well.
If you’ve ever wondered what steps you can knock off a potential baking endeavor (pie!) or how you can get a jumpstart on an ambitious project (wedding cake!), you’ll find the answer in this book. Also, rejoice: we can stop sifting! Michelle says it’s (mostly) OK.
I am particularly enjoying the 30-page pie chapter, from which I’ve already learned three tips that have upped my pie game.
2 Tips for No-Shrink Pie Crust
- Forget the “bake it hot” maxim: Most modern pie recipes instruct you to bake at a high temperature, like 425ºF or 450ºF initially, followed by a lower temperature. Michelle never found this method effective. Her crusts shrank and her decorative designs dissolved. After doing some research, she found a school of older pastry chefs who advocated against this method, favoring baking at a lower temperature, like 350ºF, for the entire pie-baking process. She tried the lower-temperature method and found instant success: no shrinkage, intact designs, crispy, flaky pastry.
- Freeze shaped pie shell for at least an hour but ideally overnight before baking. To prevent dough from melting and losing its shape during the baking process, freeze it prior to baking. Michelle prefers to freeze pie shells overnight — the girl even freezes whole assembled pies (filling + top crust!) — but a couple of hours will help preserve a crust’s shape.
1 Tip for a Prettier Pie
- Pie Crust Cookies! Simply roll out pie dough trimmings, cut, chill, and bake. Decorate your cooked pie as you wish.
Following Michelle’s tips, my favorite Thanksgiving pie — Ronnie Hollingsworth Most Excellent squash pie — has never looked so good.
Would you agree?
How to Make Pie Crust Cookies
- Roll out pie dough trimmings. Stamp out shapes. I just ordered a set of these stamped leaf cookie cutters, the evidence of whose work I’ve seen around the web and in Michelle’s book — the textured impression created by the stamp is so pretty. (UPDATE: I LOVE THEM. SEE PHOTO BELOW. WILL UPDATE FURTHER ONCE I MAKE ANOTHER PIE.) I found the cutters pictured below at a local shop, Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Albany.
- Transfer cutouts to parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill 1 hour.
- Bake at 350ºF for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden. (How ’bout those turkeys? 🤣I suggest sticking to leaves.)
- Decorate baked pie as you wish.
- Or decorate individual slices:
Michelle Lopez’s: Weeknight Baking
3 Pie Making Resources
5 Favorite Thanksgiving Pies
- Roasted Butternut Squash Pie
- Bourbon Pecan Pie (No Corn Syrup)
- Salted Maple Pie
- French Apple Tart
- Apple-Frangipane Galette
Recipe from Michelle Lopez’s: Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule.
If you’re looking for a pie dough recipe, this is my favorite: All-Purpose Pie Dough
For especially pretty looking pie crust cookies, this set works beautifully.
- pie dough trimmings
- On a floured work surface, roll out pie dough trimmings to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a floured cookie cutter to stamp out shapes. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350ºF.
- Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely before arranging on top of your finished pie.
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pie, crust, cookies, Thanksgiving