Tuesday, 16 February 2016

How To Avoid a Soggy (Pastry) Bottom

Now stop laughing because for many people  a soggy bottom is a real problem!

Only a few days ago a friend cooked a Tomato Tart using puff pastry but she was unable to get the bottom of the tart to cook. She asked my opinion on what she did wrong and how to avoid a soggy bottom with puff pastry.

Remembering back to my first few quiches, I suffered from a similar problem, although I used a shortcrust pastry. Then I learned about blind baking.


Blind baking isn't turning the oven on wearing a blind fold.

It is where you bake a pastry case for a short period of time  of the without a filling, to ensure the bottom of the pastry is cooked through.

To stop pastry on the base rising, it is necessary to prick the pastry base with a fork, cover it with baking or greaseproof paper and fill the cavity with dried beans or Ceramic Pie Weights. The shell is then cooked for a short time without the filling.

This method allows the pastry to cook right through to the bottom layer once the filling is added.

Ok we have learned that the hard way. But does this method work with puff pastry????


No matter whose recipe you read, there are arguments for and against blind baking puff pastry! In fact many chefs will not use puff pastry on the bottom of a filled pie because there is no guarantee that it will cook through.

As a rule, I blind bake all pastry cases; puff, flaky, shortcrust. The only exception is if I making very small puff pastry finger foods, where the filling is completely wrapped in puff pastry - then I bake it on a high temperature to ensure it's sealed and cooked quickly.


I called into my local bakery 'Banana Bogie' at Belair and spoke with baker Jason Spencer. I asked his opinion on puff pastry.  

One of the most important things to remember when using puff pastry, according to Jason is to make sure you cook pastry at the correct temperature; puff pastry needs to bake quickly at a high temperature, around 200º or higher depending on your oven. Also, you need to ensure that your filling isn't too wet, because this can also make for a soggy bottom.

Jason stated that most commercial bakers/bakeries would use two kinds of pastry to make pies; puff pastry for the top of the pie because it puffs up beautifully, gives a wonderful golden colour to the pie and is nice and flaky when you eat it. The other end of the pie is usually a shortcrust pastry, which holds the filling in and cooks right through to the base - so no soggy bottoms. How sneaky is this???

I have the recipe for the Tomato Tart that my friend made. I decided to give it a go with puff pastry too, but I did blind bake the pastry cases. I decided to make individual tarts, because that was more useful at the time.

(I've not included the recipe, because I don't have permission to re print it.) But, guess what? No soggy bottoms!

Now you might just disagree with blind baking your pastry and that is Ok. Whatever works for you is fine. But after a few years of failures, this works for me every time.

The recipe came from a book called "Delia's Happy Christmas' Cookbook. You may be able to search for it on line. Delia Smith did not recommend blind baking the pastry for this recipe.

No comments:

Post a Comment