Sprinkling a layer of flour and sugar in a pie shell before adding the filling is a popular technique that promises to prevent soggy crusts. Does it work?
This technique was recently featured in the Hoosier Mama Book of Pie by Paula Haney of Chicago’s eponymous pie shop. A layer of “crust dust,” a mixture of equal parts granulated sugar and flour, is meant to form a barrier that prevents liquid in the filling from turning the crust soggy.
When we tried it with three of our own pie recipes (apple, blueberry, and pumpkin) and compared the results with a set made without the dusting, we found that the dust didn’t make much of a difference—the crusts were equally crisp. This is because we take extra measures to remove excess moisture from fillings. However, when we tried crust dust with a coworker’s family recipe, which didn’t take any preventative steps to remove moisture, most tasters noticed an improvement in the crust’s crispness, albeit a small one.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you have a recipe that doesn’t call for removing excess liquid, sprinkling the crust with a couple of tablespoons of crust dust before filling is a good precautionary measure.