Common Faults in Pastry Making

Stop pie faults before they start! Evaluate past errors, learn and progress! Seek guidance here for perfect pastry!

Shortcrust
– Hard and/ or tough pastry

Due to too much liquid, too little fat, over-handling or insufficient rubbing in.

- Soft and crumbly pastry
Too little water; too much fat or self-raising flour used instead or plain

- Shrunk pastry
Excess stretching during rolling out

- Soggy pastry
Filling too moist or sugar in a sweet pie in contact with pastry. For a double crust pie, use ideally a metal pie plate and either brush pastry base with egg white or butter the pie plate before lining with pastry.

- Sunken Pie
Oven temperature too low; cold pastry put over hot filling; too much liquid in filling or too little filling.

- Speckled pastry
Undissolved sugar grains in enriched pastry crust


Hot water crust

– Cracked pastry
Insufficient liquid; too little kneading; liquid not boiling when added to flour.

- Dry, difficult -to -mould pastry
liquid not boiling when added to flour, too much liquid, dough not cooked enough to set required shape.

- Hard pastry
Insufficient fat or liquid

Suet Pastry
- Heavy pastry
Insufficient baking powder. Water not kept on the boil during cooking.

- Tough pastry
Dough handled too much and rolled out excessively

- Soggy pastry
Paper and cloth covering over filled pie too loose, and water not kept boiling during cooking.

Choux Pastry
– Mixture too soft
Insufficient cooling of the flour before adding the eggs; eggs added too quickly

- Pastry did not rise
Self-raising flour used; oven too cold; too short baking time.

- Sinking after removal from oven
Insufficient baking; further period of baking sometimes remedies this defect

Flaky, Rough Puff and Puff pastries
– Too few layers
Insufficient resting and chilling; heavy rolling causing fat to break through and intermingle with the pastry; fat too soft.

- Fat running out during baking
Oven too cool

- Shrinking pastry
Insufficient resting; overstretching during rolling out.

(From The Reader’s Digest Cookery Year, Basic Cooking Methods, Pastry Making  by Margaret Coombes and Suzanne Wakelin of Good Housekeeping Institute, 1976.)

Pastries we have attempted: choux, cream crust, enriched shortcrust, pastelillos, paté brisée, tart paste, traditional shortcrust (with lard), rice paste.

Click here for a short history of pastry.

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11 responses to “Common Faults in Pastry Making

  1. Great advice. Also, re choux paste – I was instructed not to open the oven door for the first 20 minutes of baking (heat out/cold in). Disturbance can lead to collapse. And size matters – of the eggs that is; large ones may yield more than the flour-fat panada can hold. Leftover beaten egg can glaze the buns/gougere etc – light touch needed.

  2. Sorry – panada should read liquid/fat/flour.

  3. This is both useful and oddly terrifying. I had no idea so many things could go wrong with pastry…

  4. Ha! I’m actually not an adherent to the maxim ‘Cooking is an art, baking is a science’, as one thing which blogging strictly from recipes teaches you is that there are workable variations, even for things like choux, which one might think required a high level of accuracy. Still, for anyone aiming for a very specific result with their pastry, I hope the above is useful.

  5. Love these. Now I know what to call what I do wrong :-)

  6. this is good.when u have assignment for pastries this site can help u.i love this site veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy much…………………..xoxo from shatta donay

  7. I AM DO IN AN ASSIGNMENT AND THIS WAS VERY HELP FULL ….1 QUESTION THOUGH,WHY DOES PUFF BE SOGGY IN THE CENTER EVEN THOUGH WELL BAKED?WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING ….

  8. Sounds like your oven is too hot – cooking the outside thoroughly, before the inside is fully cooked and risen.

  9. I once read that some chefs put puff pastry on to a slightly wet baking tray, though I don’t remember trying it. Theoretically puff, flaky and (unsweetened) short pastries contain so much fat that there’s no need to grease the baking tray.

  10. Thanks for helping us with our work!
    from Ella and Elly!
    from the awesomesauceteam! :)

  11. what about puff pastry

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