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– 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
– 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.
– 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.)
Click here for a short history of pastry.