When it comes to getting that perfect flaky texture in a pastry dish, there are two leading contenders: puff pastry and pie crust. But if you’re unsure about their differences or which one will work best for your next baking project, don’t worry!
The most significant difference between puff pastry and pie crust is that both pastries are made from different techniques and processes. That’s why they have distinct textures and flavors. The puff pastry has layers of thin sheets that puff up when baked, while the pie crust, on the other hand, has a denser texture.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the key points of contrast between these two famous pastries so you can decide which one works best for your recipe. So grab an apron, and let’s get started!
Puff Pastry vs. Pie Crust
What is a Puff Pastry?
It is a light, flaky pastry made from layers of butter and dough that rise when baked, creating a delicate and crispy texture. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes like tarts, turnovers, and appetizers.
Making homemade puff pastry can be time-consuming, but store-bought options are also convenient.
What is Pie Crust?
It is a pastry dough used as the base and top of pies. It can be made with various ingredients, including flour, butter, shortening, salt, and sugar.
The crust can be flaky or tender, depending on the recipe and technique. A good pie crust is essential for any delicious pie!
What’s the Difference?
Firstly, it is essential to note that Pie Crust falls under the category of Shortcrust Pastry, and Puff Pastry falls under its namesake, Puff Pastry.
Puff pastry is an incredibly delicious and flaky treat made with hundreds of layers of buttery dough. All you need are flour, water, and butter to make it!
On the flip side, pie crust mainly comprises four essential ingredients: fat (such as shortening or butter), flour, salt, and water.
- It is a laminated dough.
- It is made by rolling out the dough, folding it over several times, and then chilling it to maintain the coldness of the butter.
- The folding and rolling create many layers of dough separated by the butter.
- While delicious, it takes a long time to make and can be deemed a labor of love as it requires manual dough rolling.
- It is a pie dough formed using a simpler and quicker method.
- Cold shortening or butter is rubbed into plain flour by hand or mixer to create a loose dough. That is then bonded using a small amount of ice water.
- It is then shaped and refrigerated before being placed to create the top or bottom of a pie.
- It can be either flaky or tender depending on the method used to make it.
The classic puff pastry has a light and fluffy texture. It is fluffier and crispier than pie dough. However, it is more delicate and has many flaky, crumbly textures and tender layers than pie dough.
While pie crust has a flaky and sturdier texture, its dough is much thicker and sturdier. It provides a solid bite and, thus, a foundation to hold pie fillings.
Pie crust typically contains more fat than puff pastry, which has more calories. It is made with shortening or butter, both high-fat ingredients. However, the exact number of calories will depend on the recipe and serving size. On average, one slice of pie with a traditional crust can contain anywhere from 300 to 500 calories.
Puff pastry is often used in smaller quantities as a topping or for individual pastries like turnovers or palmiers. While it may have fewer calories per serving than the crust, it’s important to consider portion sizes.
Which One Should You Choose?
Do you desire light and buttery dough? Puff pastry is the ideal option. Alternatively, pie crust is your go-to choice if a flaky texture with neutral flavor appeals most.
Puff pastry is commonly used in sweet and savory dishes, such as croissants, turnovers, and tarts. A good pie crust is essential for any delicious pie!
Can You Substitute in Place of the Other?
Absolutely. Puff pastry can take the place of a traditional pie crust. Just be aware that they differ in taste and texture; while the pastry skin is flaky and has an identifiable buttery flavor, the pie crust is more tender with no discernible taste.
If you decide to use puff pastry instead of pie crust, remember that the cooking time may need to be adjusted. The delicious pastry tends to cook faster than the traditional pie crust. Additionally, it’s essential to use the correct type of filling for your puff pastry “pie” since the delicate texture of the pastry can quickly become soggy if too much liquid is added.
Other alternatives to traditional pie crust include phyllo dough, rice crust, cookie crumb crust, cracker crust, and even shredded wheat or hash browns! Each alternative offers a unique flavor and texture profile that can elevate your favorite pies to new heights.
How to Make Handmade Puff Pastry?
- One teaspoon of granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
- 6–8 Tablespoons (90-120ml) of ice-cold water
Making the dough:
- Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. On top of that lay the cold and cubed butter. Using your hands, gently combine the flour and pieces of butter until they are combined. You do not want to break down the slab of butter too much in this step.
- At this point, the butter is still in large cubes/chunks. Begin adding 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time of ice-cold water until you form 1 huge shaggy clump in your bowl with your hands. After each Tablespoon, use your hands to mix the dough.
- As the dough begins to hydrate after 4 Tablespoons (60ml) of water, you may start lightly squeezing or clumping it together with your hands to help it come together. The mixture will still be rather rough or shaggy.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, then turn the shaggy clump out on a lightly floured surface. There will still be large chunks of butter at this stage, which is excellent.
- Using lightly floured hands, pat the dough down until it’s 3/4 – 1 inch thick, forming a 5×8 inch rectangle. Fold the dough in half lengthwise, as though folding a business letter. Any cracks in your dough should be smoothed and flattened using your hands.
- Wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or aluminum foil, or place it into any tightly sealed container.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Roll & Fold:
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator to begin rolling and folding it. If you chill the dough for longer than about 3 hours, it’s most likely frozen stiff, so give it a 5-minute rest before starting to roll.
- Flour a work area lightly. Gently flatten the dough into a tiny square with your palms. The dough becomes sticky, so make sure you have some additional flour on hand as you roll and fold it.
- With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 6-inch by 12-inch rectangle that is 1/2 inch thick. The exact size isn’t critical, although the thickness must be precise. Flipping the dough over once or twice while rolling it to ensure it doesn’t stick to your work surface is a good idea.
- Fold the rectangle into thirds like a business letter. Roll it out into a 6×12 inch 1/2 inch thick rectangle again, then turn it clockwise or counterclockwise. Then repeat the rolling and folding four more times for a total of 6 cycles. So you’re left with dozens of layers of thin dough, with very thin layers of butter between them.
- Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes but no more than 24 hours before using in a recipe.
- You can also freeze the dough at this point.
How to Make Homemade Pie Crust
This is how to prepare our simple flaky, all-butter pie crust, which produces consistent pie dough every time and is a joy to roll out.
- 2 ½ cups (325 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or use 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
- 1 cup (230 grams) of very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
- 4 to 8 tablespoons of ice water
Method When Using Food Processor:
- In a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar (optional)—pulse 2 to 3 times until combined. The final cup of flour will be added at a later time.
- Scatter the cold butter over the flour mixture and process until a dough or paste begins to form, around 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour.)
- Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, add oil and melted butter (1 tablespoon for 8 ounces of flour), and turn once to combine. Scrap the bowl before redistributing the flour-butter mixture; then add the remaining 1 cup of flour: pulse 4 to 5 times until all of the flour has been dispersed and is a little crumbly.
- Place the crumb-like dough in a large mixing bowl, add ice water to about half of the mixture (4 tablespoons), then work your way up. With a rubber spatula, press the dough down into itself. The crumbs should start to clump together. It’ll be ready if you pinch a piece and it holds together. Add 2 to 4 additional tablespoons of water if the dough breaks and press until the dough comes together.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean surface in a mound. Work the dough just enough to form a ball.
- Cut the dough in half to make two discs with a pastry cutter. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour but no more than two days. It can also be frozen for up to three months (unwrap it before use).
Method When Making By Hand:
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar (if using). Stir 2 to 3 times until combined.
- Carefully pat the butter into the flour using a fork or spatula until fully coated.
- Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender until the flour has a coarse, mealy texture comparable to fresh bread crumbs—approximately 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add another 1 cup of flour. Combine the butter and flour with the pastry blender until thoroughly blended—about 20 seconds (Dough should look crumbly with pea-sized pieces).
- Sprinkle ice water over the top, then add four tablespoons at a time. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters after pressing. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. Add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water if the dough breaks apart.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean surface in a mound. Form the dough into a ball by working it only enough.
- Cut the dough ball in half, then form each piece into a disc. Cover each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but no more than two days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months (thaw it overnight in the fridge before using it).
Rolling Out Dough:
- Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
- Flour the counter, top the dough, and lightly roll the pin. Add a little flour to the surface below to ensure the dough does not adhere. Then use the rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12-inch circle (about 1/8 inch thick).
- To transfer the dough into the dish, start at one end and roll it around the rolling pin before unwrapping it over it. Invert the pie dish over the dough round to check for size. The edge of the pie dish should be at least 1 inch thick.
- Carefully press down the dough to line the bottom and sides of the dish. (Use caution not to pull or stretch the dough). Then, using a knife or pair of kitchen scissors, trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the dish.
- Fold the dough’s edge underneath to give it a thicker, 1/4-inch border on the plate’s lip. Then, using one hand as a pointer and two knuckles of the other hand as a lever, crimp the edges by pressing your pointer finger from within the dish while softly pushing with two knuckles from outside.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before baking.
- Then, after putting the pie filling inside the pie, top it with a second dough round. After that, trim the edges and crimp them. Don’t seal the edges yet when making a double-crust pie dough recipe.
How to Bake Store-Bought Frozen Puff Pastry
Follow these instructions carefully.
- First, defrost it thoroughly in the refrigerator.
- Then, please remove it from the refrigerator and let it return to room temperature.
- Next, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place it on the baking sheet, leaving enough space between pieces so they do not stick together.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
Pies and Filling Options
Savory Filling Pies
Savory pies are filled with meats, vegetables, and cheeses. Some additional popular ingredients can be anything from a classic beef stew to a flavorful vegetable quiche.
You can also experiment with different combinations of ingredients like potatoes, mushrooms, and bacon for a leisurely breakfast pie.
They’re perfect for a quick and easy meal and can be customized to include your favorite ingredients. Plus, they’re great for using up leftovers!
Sweet Filling Pies
Sweet pies are usually filled with fruit or sweet custard. Popular fillings include apple, cherry, peach, blueberry, and pumpkin. They can also have ingredients like chocolate or Nutella.
Add an extra flavor element by topping off these delectable pies with a lattice crust or second top crust, and then sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon for the final touch.
Can I substitute pie crust for puff pastry?
Yes, you can substitute them. However, the results will not be the same.
What is the difference between puff pastry and phyllo dough?
It is made with flour, butter, and water. Phyllo dough is made with flour and water.
Can I use pie crust instead of puff pastry for baked brie?
No, it would be best not to use pie crust instead of puff pastry for baked brie.
Is roast chicken healthy?
Some people think roast chicken is healthy because it is low in fat. However, the problem with roast chicken is that the skin is loaded with unhealthy saturated and trans fats.
The best way to make roast chicken healthy is to remove the skin before cooking.
What sides go with BBQ chicken?
BBQ chicken is a popular dish, so there are many side options. Some people might like to eat it with rice or on a sandwich. Others might want macaroni, cheese, or coleslaw as their side dish.
There are many possibilities, depending on the person’s taste preferences.
What goes with orange chicken?
Orange chicken is typically served with steamed white rice and vegetables. Some people also like to order a side of egg rolls or crab rangoon.
Do you wash chicken before marinating?
Yes, you should always wash chicken before marinating. It’s essential to remove any contaminants or bacteria on the surface of the chicken so that they don’t end up in your marinade.
You can wash the chicken under cold water or use a poultry cleanser.
What cut of meat is milanesa?
Milanesa is a thin, breaded, and fried cut of meat. It can be made from beef, pork, chicken, or veal.