Sticky Pie Crust

On Thanksgiving Day, through tears and sobbing, a young cook calls Mother for advice. What’s the problem?  “The pie dough is sticking to the rolling pin!”

If the novice baker can’t correct it, this situation can create a severe setback to the perpetual motion of the holiday dinner. Don’t despair – there may be an easy fix.


Pick up all the scraps of dough, form it into a disk, wrap the sticky dough in cling-wrap; place this in the refrigerator for an hour.  In the meantime, do a quick clean-up of the prep area, the rolling pin, and your hands.

-Scrape all the flour, dough, and tears off the work surface – scoop them right into the trash can.

-Wash the area with a cool dish cloth, rinse the cloth in cold water and wash the area again.  Remove all signs of the first attempt.

-Use a dry cloth to clean the rolling pin, wiping off all residual leavings. These, too, will go to the garbage bowl. (Hey, even Rachael Ray has a garbage bowl!)

Now – go wash your hands, your face, and straighten you hair.

Make and drink a cup of tea while the dough is also regaining composure in the quiet depths of the refrigerator.

When you are ready – – Retrieve the pie dough from its hiding place and have a look at it.  If it is still sticky, you will need to add more flour; if it’s not sticky and seems to be in good shape, all the better!

Let’s assume that the pie crust is still a bit too sticky. Here’s what to do:

Sprinkle ½ cup of flour on the work surface.  Place the pie dough disk in the middle of that flour and press down slightly to pick up some of the flour.  Flip the dough over and do that again.

Take some flour in your hands now and run it up and down that rolling pin; do this a couple of times to flour it well.

Now – working from the center of the dough, roll it firmly away from you; do this twice.

Turn the dough, sprinkle more flour on the work surface, and move the crust to that spot. Roll the dough from the middle out and away from you again; turn, and repeat the rolling.

Keep turning the dough and rolling away from you from the middle until it is the size you need.

See? This will work!

Now here is a terrific tip:

Lightly dust the top of the pie crust with flour.  Fold the dough in half, and then in half again.  Do this lightly, as if you are working with something fluffy. You now have a nice pie dough triangle.

Gingerly place the point of this dough triangle in the middle of your pie plate, then unfold it in the pan.

Your pie dough is now sitting prettily inside the pie plate, ready to be fitted and snuggled down.  Just gently push it into position working from the middle out and then up the sides.

Trim off any excess dough, then fill that sucker with any pie filling.

Dump the idea of a top crust for today – enough is enough! Opt instead for this simple streusel topping.

¼ cup butter

½ cup oatmeal

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all these together to form a loose, crumbly topping and sprinkle it over the entire pie.  Bake it at 350oF. following the directions for your pie recipe. (35-40 minutes)  And for Pete’s sake, don’t burn it!

Somewhere amid the screaming, nail-biting, and hair-pulling there are ways to regain composure in the midst of a pie- crust crisis. Hopefully, using these techniques and hints has pointed you in the direction of success.  Keep this in mind – it’s just pie crust – it’ll be okay!