Home Food 10 Common Pie Problems: And How To Fix Them

10 Common Pie Problems: And How To Fix Them

by Gina Elizabeth
How to fix pie problems

Having a pie emergency?

You’ve come to the right place.

Here’s everything you need to know to fix & prevent every pie problem.

#UltimatePie

HOW TO FIX 10 COMMON PIE PROBLEMS

Common pie problems include: watery, cracked, hardened, cracked, bubbled over, overly sweet, grainy, or foamy filling. As well as crust issues like overbaking crust and/or a soggy bottom crust. Following a good recipe is key to eliminating these and other baking issues.

Here’s how to fix your pie problems if you have…

1. Watery Filling

Place It Back In The Oven

Easy as pie!

  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure the right oven temperature (if your dial isn’t accurate).
  • Cover the pie with aluminum foil, place it back in the oven and bake it at 425 to 450 F for about 12 minutes.
  • Wait until the pie cools/sets (about 2 hours at room temperature) before cutting into it. Or, it’s almost certain that you’ll end up with a juicy, wet mess when you slice it.

Can you blame your oven for a runny pie? Some ovens don’t heat evenly and/or display the wrong temperature. Bad oven, bad!

[READ: How To Fix Watery Fruit Pie After Baking]

2. Cracked Filling

A little whipped cream, and all is forgiven:

Here’s how to fix cracked pie with whipped cream topping:

  1. Remove the pie from the oven and scoop out the filling.
  2. Wait for the pie to cool.
  3. Then top with a whipped cream crust.

filling will crack if the pie is over-baked or cools too quickly. Do not refrigerate your pie until it’s completely cooled.

3. Hardened Filling

Cool your pie. Then use a sharp, serated knife to cut into your pie. Top slices with ice cream or whipped cream to hide any imperfections.

To avoid a hardened filling crust:

  • Cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes of the baking.
  • If your oven’s heating element is on the top, try placing the pie on a lower rack.
  • Pre-cook the filling on the stove and then you don’t need to bake it as long in the oven.

4. Foamy Filling

The best way to fix foamy pie filling is to prevent it. After you have heated your filling on the stove, skim off any foam before pouring the filling into the crust. Be sure not to over mix the filling, this is going to create the foam.

5. Filling Bubbles Over

Bake your pie on a sheet pan to catch and collect any filling juices that bubble over during baking. Make sure not to over fill your pie plate to avoid a stick mess inside your oven.

6. Bottom Pie Crust Not Cooked

How to prevent soggy bottom pie crust

The best way to ensure a crispy, golden pie crust is to blind bake it. To prevent your pie’s bottom crust from becoming soggy, it needs to be partially cooked before adding fillings. This is known as blind baking.

How to blind bake a pie crust

  1. Chill your pie crust before baking
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425°F
  3. Place parchment paper on the pie crust. Fill the pie with weights to keep the crust from bubbling up.
  4. Place pie on a cookie sheet. This helps liquefy the solid layers of fat in the dough.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are start browning.
  6. Poke holes all over the bottom of the crust with a fork.
  7. Coat the surface of the bottom crust with a layer of slightly beaten egg white to create a barrier to prevent sogginess. This will form a seal between the pie dough and the filling and will help make the crust crisp.
  8. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool before filling.

Tip #1: Roll your bottom crust slightly thicker than your top crust. This will keep the filling from seeping through the dough. 

Tip #2: Add crushed cornflakes on the bottom crust before adding the filling. This will help prevent a soggy crust. 

How to fix soggy bottom pie crust

  1. Remove the pie from the oven and scoop out the filling.
  2. Cover the edges with foil or a pie shield.
  3. Put the pie back in the oven and allow the bottom crust to cook all the way through.
  4. Simultaneously heat the pie filling on the stove (over a low simmer) until the juice reduces.
  5. Once the bottom crust cooks, reinsert the filling.
  6. Wait for the pie to cool.
  7. Then top with a whipped cream crust.

Which oven rack is the best for baking pie?

Baking the pie on the lower rack will ensure that bottom crust gets crispy and golden brown.

7. Burnt Pie

If your pie is burnt or unsalvageable make a sundae, parfait, or shake out of the unburnt sections:

Make A Festive Sundae

The best kind of mess.

Instructions:  Pie Sundae

  1. Scoop ice cream into individual serving bowls or glasses.
  2. Top with the pie filling and crust.
  3. Garnish with whipped cream and nuts.

BOOM!

8. Underbaked Crust

If you don’t bake your pie at a high enough temperature, the crust becomes raw and soggy. This is due to the butter in the crust melting into the dough without evaporating.

To fix this, start out your pie at a higher temperature, between 425 and 450 degrees F. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F after about 20 to 30 minutes and continue baking until the pie is nicely browned and the filling is bubbling.

9. Grainy Pie

This is the one time you’ll want to make a baking mistake.

If the eggs in your pie overcook, it can give your filling a grainy texture. To remedy this, make a pie bourbon shake.

Easy. Boozy. Beautiful.

10. Too Sweet

pie turn out too sweet to eat?

Make a pie smoothie

You’ve got a festive & easy holiday shake or smoothie and your guests are none the wiser.

It’s totally healthy, it has milk! 

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 1 thirsty person

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pie
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • Handful of ice
  • Unsweetened whipped cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional topping: cinnamon powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients.
  2. Blend until desired consistency. (Add more pie if too thin, or more almond milk if too thick)
  3. Pour into a tall glass.
  4. Garnish with unsweetened whipped cream, crumbled pie, and an optional dash of cinnamon.

12 BAKING TIPS TO AVOID PIE PROBLEMS

Things That’ll Help You Bake The Best Pie Ever!

Making your first pie? Want to impress everyone with your baking skills?

Here’s how:

1. Choose A Reliable Recipe

pie is very finicky & unforgiving. Make sure to use the best pie recipe you can find and follow it exactly, for the perfect pie every time.

Tip: Read the whole recipe once or twice before getting started. You’ll be much more likely to get it right the first time!

2. Measure Ingredients Accurately

Baking is more science than art. Eyeballing ingredients or making substitutions isn’t good practice for baking!

Tip: If your recipe calls for a specific brand (like Karo Syrup), don’t use a generic brand. this may add moisture and cause runny pie.

3. Use A Glass Pie Dish To Bake

Use a glass pie pan. Glass is the best choice for pre-baking a custard pie like or pumpkin. Although metal pans conduct heat better, radiant energy can pass through glass pans and help the crust heat and brown quickly.

4. Put a cold pie into a hot oven

“Make it cold, bake it hot.”

Putting a cold pie into a hot oven will help avoid a soggy bottom.

  • Everything should be chilled: ingredients, bowls, and materials.
  • Refrigerate the pie crust dough until your filling is ready. Warm dough causes butter to soften—which will cause a soggy instead of a flaky crust.
  • You can also chill your pie in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.

5. Cover Your Crust Edges

Don’t use the brownness of pie crust to judge doneness.

  • Cover the crust edges with foil to avoid burning. Or purchase a pie crust shield.
  • Remove the pie crust shield during the last 15 minutes of baking.

6. Use An Oven Thermometer

Pre-heat your oven and verify the baking temperature with an oven thermometer (don’t trust your dial).

  • pie baked at too hot a temperature may cause the egg custard to break and weep.
  • Oven temperature that is too cool may also cause runny pie.

7. Do Not Overfill Your Pie Plate

Stick with the amount of filling that your recipe calls for to avoid a watery mess. Extra filing can also cause a soggy crust. Stick with the amount that your recipe calls for to avoid watery pie filling.

8. Partially Blind-Bake Your Bottom Crust.

As an alternative to blind-baking, you can also sprinkle cornstarch (or flour) on top of your bottom crust. This will soak up excess liquid. Sprinkle before adding your pie filling.

If you opt for a frozen crust, place a cookie sheet in preheated oven. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on the preheated cookie sheet.

9. Judging Doneness

Do not shorten cooking time or lower oven temperature to avoid over-browning your crust.

pie is a notoriously difficult to bake because it can be difficult to tell when it is done. The crust and the s can burn easily if overcooked, but the middle can come out runny if it’s not cooked long enough.

How can you tell when pie is done?

Shake it. Give it a little shake back and forth. It should jiggle a little in the middle. A wobble means it’s not done yet. Another method is to stick a fork in it. Insert a fork in the center of the pie, between the s. It should be clean when the pie is ready. The filling will continue to cook and fully set as the pie cools.

10. Adjust Recipe In High Altitude

If you live in a high altitude, adjust the recipe (ingredients and oven temperature).

11. Cool Before Slicing Or Refrigerating

  • Cutting a hot pie will cause it to collapse.
  • Do not place a hot pie into the fridge, the temperature difference is too drastic.
  • Cool for at least 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

PIE BAKING FAQs

How do you fix a watery fruit pie after baking?

1. Place It Back In The Oven

Easy as pie!

  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure the right oven temperature (if your dial isn’t accurate).
  • Cover the pie with aluminum foil, place it back in the oven and bake it at 425 to 450 F for about 12 minutes.
  • Wait until the pie cools/sets (about 2 hours at room temperature) before cutting into it. Or, it’s almost certain that you’ll end up with a juicy, wet mess when you slice it.

Can you blame your oven for a runny pie? Some ovens don’t heat evenly and/or display the wrong temperature. Bad oven, bad! 

Tip: Try a toaster oven if your gas oven has hot spots, fluctuating temperatures, or the dial isn’t accurate. Gas ovens also release moisture which can cause baking issues. Toaster ovens use less electricity than electric ovens and don’t heat up your kitchen as much.

Important note:If you didn’t follow a reliable pie recipe — use strategy #2 or #3 below instead.

2. Scoop Out The Filling (Crumble Topping)

more time intensive strategy to thicken pie involves: re-heating the pie filling, re-baking the bottom crust, and making a crumble topping.

Here’s how to thicken watery pie after baking with a crumble topping, step-by-step:

  1. Remove the pie’s top crust and scoop out the filling.
  2. Put the pie back in the oven (bottom rack) and allow the bottom crust to cook all the way through.
  3. Simultaneously heat the pie filling on the stove (over a low simmer) until the juice reduces. Let cool.
  4. Once the bottom crust cooks –and cools– reinsert the filling.
  5. Replace the top crust with a crumble topping.

3. Scoop Out The Filling (Whipped Cream Topping)

A little whipped cream, and all is forgiven.

Here’s how to thicken watery pie filling after baking with whipped cream topping.

  1. Remove the pie’s top crust and scoop out the filling.
  2. Put the pie back in the oven and allow the bottom crust to cook all the way through.
  3. Simultaneously heat the pie filling on the stove (over a low simmer) until the juice reduces.
  4. Once the bottom crust cooks, reinsert the filling.
  5. Wait for the pie to cool.
  6. Then top with whipped cream instead of a crust.

How do I thicken fruit pie before baking?

Use Instant ClearJel Thickener

The secret to perfect pie!

Professional bakers have been using this pie hack forever to thicken pie filling. Instant ClearJel is a corn-based thickener for (high-acid) fruit based pie fillings.

It’s called “Instant” because is gels & swells instantly upon contact with liquid (hot or cold). 

For smooth results, combine with dry ingredients before adding liquid.

Unlike other corn-based thickeners — (ahem, corn starch) — ClearJel does well at high temperatures and doesn’t lose its thickening abilities. It also tolerates acidic ingredients. 

Other options for pie thickeners include: Quick-cooking tapioca, flour, and arrow root powder.

Hint: Tapioca has a milder taste than wheat flour and is more forgiving than other thickeners.  

Whichever thickener you go with, make sure to follow a recipe specifically for that thickener.

Pie is very finicky & unforgiving. Make sure to use a good recipe and follow it exactly, for the perfect pie every time.

Tip: Read the whole recipe once or twice before getting started. You’ll be much more likely to get it right the first time!

Use Tart-Firm Fruit

Tart fruit high in pectin. Pectin is the glue that holds plant cells together. When fruit is baked, pectin breaks down, and it turns mushy. 

Soak your Fruit in Sugar

Fruit has a lot of water. Sugar will draw out excess liquid before you bake your filling.

  1. Just toss your sliced tart fruit in: sugar, lemon juice*, cinnamon, and nutmeg (optional). Use the amount of sugar your recipe calls for. Make sure to cover your fruit completely in the dry ingredients.
  2. Soak for 30-120 minutes in a large bowl.
  3. Then strain the excess liquid through a colander.

*Lemon will prevent browning

Par-Cook your Fruit

Par-cooking is short for “partially cooking”.

Heating fruit between 140°F and 160°F will increase the enzyme activity that converts pectin into a more heat stable form.

Your fruit will lose some of it’s water and retain it’s shape better.

Use Syrup (instead of water)

Step 1: Bring one cup of apple juice to a boil over medium heat (in small saucepan). Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until mixture has reduced to 1/4 cup.

Step 2: Combine sugar, thickener, and other dry ingredients in a bowl. This will ensure that the thickener is evenly dispersed throughout the filling.

Step 3: In a large bowl, toss dry ingredients with the other ingredients.

Vent Your Top Crust 

You’ll need vents to allow evaporation of excess moisture to help thicken your pie.

A lattice style or crumble topping pie does not need vents.

Can I make easy homemade pie filling ahead of time?

If you don’t have the time for homemade pie filling, make a batch of this easy (stovetop) pie filling ahead of time. Straight from the jar, it’s incredible and tastes like the best pie ever.

Sooo easy.

Can you freeze pie?

Yes, simply allow the pie to cool, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. Homemade pie will keep well in the freezer for 3 months.

This will protect your pie from freezer burn and other freezer odors. Pie can be frozen whole or cut up into slices.

How long can you keep a pie in the freezer?

You can keep frozen, homemade pie will keep well in the freezer for 3-4 months. But it’ll taste best if eaten sooner. If you freeze the filling by itself, it will last up to 12 months.

How long can I freeze pie filling?

When the filling is properly frozen and stored in the freezer, pie filling can last for up to 6 months.

How do you freeze pie?

Step 1: Allow to Cool Completely

After baking, allow your pie to cool at room temperature for up to 30 minutes. Then chill the pie thoroughly in the refrigerator. It’s important that the pie is chilled before being frozen

Do not take your pie out of the oven and place it directly in the freezer. It won’t set properly.

Step 2: Slice and Wrap

The less cold air that comes into contact with your pie, the longer it’ll last in the freezer.

Once your pie is fully chilled, it’s time to prepare it for freezing. If you’re freezing individual slices, slice the pie and wrap each piece tightly with two layers of plastic wrap.

Step 3: Wrap with Foil

Wrap it well in plastic wrap, then foil. Repeat until all of the slices are tightly wrapped. Then label and date it to keep track of how long your pie is frozen

As you put the pie in the freezer, carefully place it to ensure it doesn’t get crushed by the weight of other foods.

How do you reheat a frozen cooked pie?

Baking a frozen or thawed pie is tricky. The length of time you will re-heat the pie depends on how cold your freezer is, how hot the oven is, and the amount of filling in the pie.

Re-heat frozen pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and place the individual slices or pie in a disposable metal pie pan or foil-lined baking sheet. 
  2. Brush the top crust of the pie with melted butter if desired. 
  3. Line the edges of the pie with foil to prevent over-browning. Or, “tent” a piece of foil over the top of the pie.
  4. Place the pie on the bottom rack of the oven. You can move the pie lower and higher as it bakes.
  5. Bake the pie at 350° F for 15-20 minutes.
  6. If needed, bake longer on a lower temperature.
  7. Let your pie to cool slightly before serving.

Re-heat thawed pie

Thaw it for up to 30 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge. Some people suggest thawing the pie before you place it in the oven because it helps the pastry flour cook better.

Also, be aware that thawing your frozen pie may cause sogginess and the pie likely won’t be the exact same consistency it was before.

Important! Never place a cold Pyrex or a glass pan directly into a hot oven, it can shatter.

Do I need to refrigerate pie?

Yes! Refrigerate within two hours of baking to prevent food borne illness. A warm pie is okay to place in the fridge.

What is blind-baking?

Blind-baking is pre-baking the crust without the filling. This step ensures a crispy crust. For extra crispy pie crust – partially blind bake the crust before adding filling.

How do I partially blind-bake a pie crust?

To partially blind bake, pierce the pie dough in the pie plate with a fork. Chill for an hour. Then line with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at a moderate temperature (350 degrees F) for about 5 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned, removing the pie weights halfway through.

Can I make substitutions?

No. Substitutions can add moisture, which may cause runny pie.

What is a crumble topping?

A crumble topping is typically used on top of baked fruit pies like: apple, blueberry, cherry and peach pie. It can also be used on coffee cakes or muffins. A basic crumble topping recipe consists of just three ingredients: flour, butter and sugar. Spicing with cinnamon is also common.

INGREDIENTS

  •  12 tbsp. of butter, unsalted
  •  2/3 cup of sugar (brown, white, or a combination)
  •  1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Grate cold butter and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add sugar.
  3. Add flour. Then, using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
  4. Distribute evenly on a sheet pan.
  5. Bake at 425ºF, for 10 minutes (or until golden brown).
  6. Remove from the oven. Let the crumble cool, and top on pie.
  7. How do you keep a pie from leaking out of crust?

(Buttering the pie plate is important especially for a  pie. The filling tends to leak through the bottom crust and stick, making serving difficult.) One way to prevent that leakage is to paint the bottom crust with slightly beaten egg white before adding the filling.

Should I blind bake crust for pie?

If you love a flaky, non soggy crust with your pie then blind baking is for you. If you’ve never heard of blind baking before, its a method where you bake a crust without the pie or pastry filling in it. This method is not difficult, and you don’t need any expensive equipment.

How do I serve pie?

  • Serve chilled, warmed, or at room temperature. Do not serve hot.
  • Plate with a fork.
  • Top with whipped cream, ice cream or hard sauce. Wikipedia

What is hard sauce?

It’s a dessert sauce made with creamed butter, sugar with rum, brandy, sherry, whiskey, vanilla or other flavorings. It is served cold.

How can I avoid soggy pie crust?

Here are some things that can do to keep your crust crispy.

  • Blind Bake. Pre-bake the crust so that it sets and crisps up before you add any wet filling.
  • Or Hot Baking Sheet. Place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Then place your pie directly on the heated baking sheet. The extra heat will get the crust to cook and set quickly.

Why does my pie puff and then fall?

  • pie has a tendency to soufflé and fall. To test for doneness, look for a filling that’s puffed—it should jiggle just slightly when you gently shake it.
  • Stick to 350°F—a higher oven temperature will make the custard puff up like a soufflé and fall upon cooling.
  • Do not cool it too quickly in the refrigerator, the change is too drastic. Let the pie cool gradually in a warm place.

How do you fix a burnt pie?

Use a handheld grater to scrape off the burnt parts. Cut or break off burnt edges and garnish the  pie with a ring or topping of whipped cream instead. Or re-purpose sections that aren’t burned to make an ice cream parfait or bourbon shake.

Can I make pie with alcohol?

I never met a pie that couldn’t be improved by bourbon or whiskey.

Tips

  • Soak fruit in liquor while preparing the pie filing, then drain excess liquid.
  • Don’t forget to finish off the liquor to eliminate waste.

Can I make pie without eggs or sugar?

Yes, there are a lot of vegan pie and keto pie recipes online. And they are just as gooey and delicious.

What causes pie to crack?

Custard pie filling will crack if the pie is over-baked or cools too quickly.

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