No matter the season, it's always a good time for pie—think: pear ginger in the fall, Mexican chocolate pecan for winter and, our summertime favorite, blackberry with buttermilk custard filling. But while what's inside often defines this beloved dessert, the secret to a flawless pie is actually a flaky, buttery crust baked to golden perfection.
Making piecrust from scratch can be intimidating, even for the most experienced home baker. So it should be a relief to learn that one of the most important—and most overlooked—steps of crust making has nothing to do with cutting cold butter and everything to do with a little patience. Yes, we're talking about resting your dough before popping it into the oven.
Little known fact: Refrigerating your dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out allows the gluten to relax and the fat to firm up, resulting in an extra-flaky, melt-in-your-mouth crust.
How does it work? As the gluten formed during the mixing process recovers from kneading, the dough begins to redistribute its water content, increasing moisture and upping the buttery mouthfeel. Chilling the dough before baking also prevents your crust from shrinking too much in the oven, since the gluten has had time to relax. For the best outcome, remove your dough from the refrigerator a few minutes before rolling it out, so it has time slightly soften.
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