Rolling Out Pie Dough: Terrified No More

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Jacques was coming to our house in Connecticut for dinner and I’d made some kind of a tart for dessert. I don’t remember what kind it was, but I do remember Jacques asking me how I’d rolled it out.  It was my standard Sweet Tart Dough and Jacques recognized immediately that because it is very buttery, very sweet and very soft, it wasn’t an easy roller.  I said I’d rolled it out on my floured counter and he said, “It’s so much easier to roll it between pieces of plastic wrap!”

Silly me, I’d always thought that rolling between plastic wrap was cheating.  But if Jacques gave me permission, then I’d roll between wrap.  And between wax paper.  And between a crust cover.  But not between sheets of parchment paper, although so many French recipes suggest it.

 In fact, when I was working on Baking From My Home to Yours, my editor said, “Please tell me you’re not going tell people to roll between parchment, it’s so stiff and it’s so slippery.”  She was right, of course, and I didn’t tell anyone to do it.

But just the other day, when I was rolling out Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough, I grabbed some parchment, some brown-paper, natural parchment, and rolled away and it was easy, not stiff and not slippery either.  The natural paper seems lighter and more supple.  Plus, I think it’s pretty.

Just the way I learned I learned something new making madeleines recently, so I learned something new rolling between parchment.

Here are a few tips for rolling out dough between wax paper, plastic wrap, parchment or even a pastry cover:

  • Lift the sheets often, so that they don’t fold into the dough and create deep creases.
  • Turn the dough over frequently.  You do this so that the dough is pressed evenly all over, but also so that you decrease the creases.
  • If your dough is really soft and sticky, flour both sides of the dough before you start rolling.
  • Keep the dough between the sheets when you chill it and use the sheet to help you turn the dough over into the tart pan or pie plate.
  •  If you’ve used parchment and you’re going to pre-bake the crust, use the paper to line the crust.


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