Helpful hints for refrigerated piecrusts.
You'll Love This Shortcake
Helpful hints for refrigerated piecrusts.
| Credit: Ralph Anderson, William Dickey / styling Cari South

The new refrigerated piecrusts from Pillsbury are rolled rather than folded, so they're easier than ever to use. The dough is sized to fit 8- to 9-inch pie plates and 10-inch tart pans, but it can also be cut into dozens of other shapes for quick-and-easy desserts, such as these layered fruit pastries. Pretty enough for a party, our speedy twist on traditional shortcake pairs crisp, flaky rounds of sugared pastry with a medley of sweet and juicy summer fruits.

Just unroll the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut circular shapes using a 3-inch round cutter (you'll get 9 circles from each round of piecrust dough--a few more if you reroll the scraps). Brush the top of each 3-inch circle with lightly beaten egg, and sprinkle evenly with white sparkling sugar or granulated sugar. Arrange circles on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350º for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets, and cool completely on wire racks. Layer with fresh sliced fruits and berries tossed with granulated sugar and a generous dollop of whipped cream.

We used a mixture of sliced nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries with a garnish of fresh mint, but almost any combination of seasonal fruits will work equally well.

Quick Tricks With Refrigerated Piecrusts
Look for ready-made piecrust dough in the refrigerated dairy case of the supermarket, usually near the butter and margarine. Let pie crust dough stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before unrolling. To prevent tearing as well as shrinkage when baking, avoid pulling and stretching the dough when fitting it in the pie plate, but do press it firmly against the bottom and sides to eliminate any air pockets that might push the crust out of shape. If the dough should crack or tear before baking, dampen fingertips with cold water and press the torn edges together. See our tips on the next page for creating a beautiful crust.

Tips and Tidbits

  • Use refrigerated and frozen piecrust before the expiration date printed on the package.
  • Bake a refrigerated piecrust in a glass pie plate--it absorbs the radiant heat of an oven, unlike shiny metal or aluminum pie pans that reflect heat and can prevent the bottom of the crust from browning. When using a frozen piecrust in a disposable aluminum pan, bake the pie on a preheated cookie sheet.
  • Brush an unbaked piecrust with lightly beaten egg white before adding the filling. The egg white acts as a seal, keeping the bottom crust crisp. Bake pies on the lowest oven rack, and cool on a wire rack after baking.
  • Leave the excess dough around the outer edge of the pie plate for fluting, or use it to seal the top crust of a double-crusted fruit pie.
  • When preparing a single crust pie, fold the excess dough underneath itself, even with the pie plate's rim, and crimp.
  • After folding dough under, create a checkered border by cutting decorative slits at 1/2-inch intervals. Gently press the tabs in opposite directions.
  • Rather than cutting and weaving strips of dough, use a small canapé cutter to create the look of a lattice-top crust for fruit pies.

Related Recipes For Shortcakes

This article is from the June 2005 issue of Southern Living.