A Bag Of Frozen Veggies Can Rescue Soft Pie Crust From Melting On The Counter

You've made a pie crust and rolled it to perfection, only to find that it's super-soft and has stuck to the counter because your kitchen is too hot. Though you may be tempted to scrape it off your worktop and re-roll it with more flour, this will only result in over-handled pastry that has a tough texture once baked. Luckily, all you need is a bag of frozen veggies to prevent a batch of soft pie crust from melting further on the counter.

If you're familiar with baking, you'll already know it's vital to keep your ingredients and surroundings as cold as possible to guarantee that your pastry is flaky, tender, and lofty once baked. This is achieved by, firstly, combining flour with cold butter and ice water, and secondly, chilling the dough. The flaky characteristic of good pastry is created when the cold butter melts in the oven to create steam that lifts up the individual layers within the pie crust.

Pastry that feels soft and oily on the hands once it's rolled out can be chilled before baking simply by transferring it to the fridge. However, it's tricky to do that with dough that's stuck to the counter or has become so thin that it rips when you try to lift it off. Putting a bag of frozen veggies directly on top of the pastry lowers the temperature of the butter until it's easier to handle.

Smaller frozen vegetables will sit flush against the pastry

A bag containing smaller-sized vegetables, like petis pois or sweetcorn kernels, is an ideal choice because the veggies will take on the shape of the bag and lay flush against the surface area of your dough. Bigger, chunkier vegetables won't be able to sit smoothly over the pastry and any sharp edges could puncture the tender texture of your crust. If one bag of vegetables doesn't cover the dough entirely, use a second one to make sure the whole surface is covered in full.

The action of placing the frozen vegetables on top of the pastry works to chill it where it sits, causing the softened butter to solidify again. Once the pastry feels stiffer and is easier to manage, you can lift off the veggies, quickly release the pie crust off the counter, and place it on your pie dish. If you're satisfied that your pastry is cool enough at this point you can bake it blind or go ahead and add in your cherry, apple, or pumpkin pie filling according to your recipe. However, it's often a safer bet to transfer it to the fridge or freezer for an additional chill to guarantee that it's as cold as possible before it meets the heat of the oven.