11/03/2011 05:23 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Roll Out And Bake A Pie Crust

First, chef Dianne Rossomando of The Culinary Institute of America demonstrates the correct way to roll out a chilled piece of pie dough. She lightly flours her work surface, then sets the dough down and rolls it from the center out toward the edges, rotating the dough after every stroke. Ideally, you want to see little pieces of butter in the dough -- that means the dough hasn't been overworked and that your crust will be light and flaky. You can stop rolling when the crust reaches about 1/8 inch thick and is at least an inch bigger than the edges of your pan.

To transfer the dough, she rolls up the dough onto the rolling pin, then lets it unfold off of the rolling pin into the pie pan. She pushes it gently into the corners using a tiny piece of floured dough (you don't want to use your warm fingertips).

After removing some of the excess dough to get a 1/2-inch lip of excess dough around the pan, she folds that excess under the edge, tucking and rolling to reinforce the crust and make a perfect surface for crimping. To create a finished edge, she uses two fingers on the inside of the pie shell and pokes her index finger between them. Now the crust is ready to blind-bake, which is a term used to describe a crust that is baked before filling is added. (It's a method used for refrigerator pies and a number of other varieties.) She lines the crust with parchment paper, then fills the pan with dried beans to keep the crust from bubbling up during baking. After 35 to 40 minutes in the oven, the crust is golden and ready to fill. Just remove the paper and beans, then fill.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Rossomando from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to roll out pie dough and bake it.

We have our pie dough here, dough that has been chilling roughly three hours; that's how long you need to keep it in the refrigerator so you can work with it without melting your butter. I'll dust my tabletop with all-purpose flour, to make sure that my pie dough doesn't stick onto the tabletop. Now I'll start rolling it out. I'll roll out the corners first, and then I'll work in the middle; I want to make sure it's nice and even through the entire piece of dough. I'm just rotating it and turning it, at each and every pass with the rolling pin.

As you roll it out, you may see bits and pieces of butter. Don't be alarmed by that; you want to see that butter. To have particles of butter means that it hasn't been overworked, and that you will have a flaky pie dough.

You want to make sure the dough is roughly an eighth of an inch thick and that it exceeds the sides of the pan. We're almost at the point where we're ready to transfer our dough into our pan. I'm just going to make sure that I don't have any thick areas that i need to re-roll. We're going to transfer our pie dough into our glass pan, and then we'll put a piece of parchment paper on top of the pie dough, and we'll line the parchment with regular dry beans. The purpose of the beans are to weigh down the pie dough, so that it doesn't bubble up in baking. This is called blind baking, and you would use this for any kind of prebaked pie shell.

Now we're ready to transfer our pie dough into our baking pan. I'll carefully roll up my pie dough on the rolling pin, removing any excess flour as I go - and then you want to bring the pie pan very close to you, and you're going to roll the crust off right into the pan. Let it unfurl off the rolling pin, and then I'm just using my fingertips to help press it into place. If it starts to get too warm, you could take a little piece of cold floured dough and help get it right into the corners of the pan without using your fingertips, because fingertips are warm.

I'm going to remove some of the excess dough. You want to make sure you have about half an inch of your pie dough hanging over the edge. Now I'm going to finish the edge of the pie; I'll just tuck and roll. I lift up the pie dough and then I curl it over, just gathering the excess and rolling it over, tucking it underneath. I've tucked it all the way around the entire pie shell; now I'll give it a finished edge. This is the crimping part. I put two fingers of one hand on the inside of the pie shell, and my index finger of the other hand is on the outside, and I pinch the dough together. I keep rotating the pan and grabbing for new dough.

Now we have our finished pie shell. To prepare for baking we're going to line our pie shell with a piece of parchment paper. Make sure the paper is big enough that you can grab onto it when you remove the pan from the oven. Take your baking beans - maybe about a bag of baking beans, I'd say - and fill up the shell. Once again, the baking beans weigh down the pie dough so it doesn't rise on you. It gives a really flat, beautiful surface for you to fill with cold fillings. We'll put this in a 325-degree oven for roughly thirty-five to forty minutes, and then we'll have a beautiful blind-baked pie shell.

Our pie's been baking for about forty minutes, and you can see we have really beautiful golden brown edges. When we move the parchment away from the edges it removes really easily; it doesn't stick or tear. Now I'll just lift these baking beans right out, place them back into their bowl - and you can see the interior is completely golden brown, no wet spots, really nice and flaky. We have a great pie crust, ready for filling.