Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

pie dough, a simple blend of flour, fat, flavoring, and liquid, is magically transformed by heat into a crust with deliciously varied qualities: buttery, tender, and flaky (for fresh fruit pies); tender and crisp (for open-face tarts); tender but sturdy (for soft custard pies); or tender and crisp but moisture-proof (for hand-held juicy pies or turnovers). The type of fat in the dough is a determining factor. Many American bakers today prefer to use a blend of fats, namely butter plus a small amount of shortening, which bakes into a rich, buttery crust that is tender, “short,” and also exceptionally flaky—the latter a characteristic uniquely important to American bakers.