A professional pastry chef explains how and when to dock a pie crust. There is both science and logic behind docking pastry and this post will make it all clear.
When to dock a pie crust is super simple question that has the most frustrating answer: it depends. This post can be applied to any pie or tart crust. The same rules apply for a flaky, all-butter pie crust, sweet tart dough, or pâte sablée. They are equally true for pies and tarts of all shapes and sizes! You’ll see that I docked these mini almond tart shells for a chocolate tart.
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How to dock a pie crust?
Line a pie tin or tart mold with your favorite pie crust and poke holes at about 1-2 inch intervals across the whole bottom with a fork. They make special tools for docking but I don’t find them necessary unless docking a large quantity of puff pastry.
This same method applies to pies or tarts made in any variety of dishes. You can use this method in vintage pie tins, ceramic baking dishes or removable bottom tart pans.
Why do you dock a pie crust?
Docking a pie crust allows the steam from the baking crust to escape in a controlled fashion. You know us pastry people are all about control and this is no different. Without docking, the crust will puff up irregularly even if blind baking with weights. As soon as the weights are removed, the crust will puff unless it is already fully baked.
When do you dock a pie crust?
- When you are baking a pie crust without a filling. This is also called blind baking or par-baking.
- And, the filling is not liquid.
When do you NOT need to dock a pie crust?
- If you are baking it 100% of the time with a filling,
- Or you are filling the pie crust with a liquid filling like an unbaked custard. Think pumpkin pie.
Some examples of pies that you do not need to or should not dock are pumpkin pie, buttermilk pie, pecan pie, double crust pies like apple pie, or chess pie.
However, I do dock the crusts for chocolate tarts, French silk pie, banana cream pie, and coconut cream pie.
Do I have to weight a docked crust for blind baking?
This depends. If you are using a pâte sucrée or a pâte sablée, you do not need to weight a docked crust for blind baking. If you are using a brisée or a flaky crust, the crust will still puff up irregularly even if docked. This just means you did a great job of making nice sheets of butter in your pastry!
Before You Go!
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