Pie Crust vs Puff Pastry A Must Read Side by Side Comparison

In this article, we will be comparing two pastry doughs; Puff Pastry, and Pie Crust.

Pie crust and Puff Pastry are made with similar ingredients but they are two completely different types of pastry, The biggest difference is that both Pastries are made from different techniques/ processes hence they both have very different textures.

To understand these two types of pastry dough you need to know that there are a total of five types of pastry dough but for this article, we will only need to discuss:

  • Shortcrust Pastry
  • and Puff Pastry

Firstly, it is important to note that Pie Crust falls under the category of Shortcrust Pastry and Puff Pastry falls under its namesake Puff Pastry. Shortcrust pastry is the type of pastry dough used in making pies, tarts, etc.

Ingredients Used in Pie Crust Vs Puff Pastry

The ingredients in both of these recipes are mostly the same but they differ in quantity which will vary with each recipe.

Shortcrust Pastry (Pie Dough/crust)

Now Pie Dough which is a shortcrust Pastry Dough is made from:

  • Cold unsalted butter/Vegetable shortening
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • And ice water.

Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry is made from:

  • Flour
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Iced water
  • And chilled but slightly pliable butter.

The Method used to Make Pie Dough Vs Puff Pastry

The major difference in the technique used to make these two types of doughs are:

  • A large amount of almost solid butter is folded into the puff pastry dough forming layers.
  • Whilst for a Pie Crust the butter is cut into the flour to form crumbs, varying from a meal-like consistency to pea-size pieces and then cold water is added.

Pie Crust

Pie Dough is formed by 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.

Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry while delicious, takes a longer time to make and can be deemed a labor of love as it requires manual rolling of the dough.

Puff Pastry is a laminated dough meaning it is made by taking a big block of solid butter and wrapping it with pastry dough.

Then rolling and folding the two together, This process is repeated over and over and requires the dough to be rested in the refrigerator to maintain the coldness of the butter. The folding and rolling create lots of layers of dough separated by the butter.

The butter which contains water will cause steam to be released creating a flaky, light and tender pastry. When puff pastry is baked, the layers begin to separate and rise. You can even see the butter bubbling between the many layers as it puffs and bakes. 

Because of how labor-intensive and time-consuming nature of puff pastry. People often opt to buy it rather than make it from scratch. A large variety of store-bought puff pastry is available for sale at supermarkets.

Texture of Pie Dough VS Puff Pastry

Pie dough/crust

Pie Dough is much thicker and sturdier than a puff pastry. Pie crusts provide a more solid bite and thus foundation to hold pie fillings.

Pie crusts tend to be more buttery and flaky but are a more stable vessel for holding pie filling.

Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is fluffier and crispier than pie dough. It is however, more delicate and has many flaky, tender layers as compared to pie dough.

Pie Dough Vs Puff Pastry Calories

On average Pie dough has around 469 calories in 100 grams, this excludes the filling whereas Puff Pastry has 558 calories in 100 grams.

Can you use Pie dough & Puff Pastry in place of the other?

This really depends on the dish you are trying to create.

Substituting Puff Pastry with Pie Dough

While you can never truly get the height or flakiness of puff pastry with a pie crust/pie dough, it can be used as a substitute for puff pastry in dishes such as beef wellington.

Homemade or store bought pie dough can also be used in place of puff pastry to top pot pies or to make turnovers.

You can also imitate puff pastry by creating a flakier homemade pie crust/dough by using the same method of laminating used in puff pastry.

Use a standard home-made or store-bought pie crust and take large and almost frozen pieces of butter to imitate the roll and fold technique used for making puff pastry.

By rolling the dough about 1/4 inch thick, place the chunks of butter, before folding it and rolling it once more, you can gain flakier, tender layers that will puff up while it cooks.

Substituting Pie Dough/Crust with Puff Pastry

I would not recommend you substituting puff pastry for the bottom layer of pie dough because generally, the delicate puff pastry will be unable to support the filling inside of the pie.

The bottom crust will fall apart because of the flakiness of the pastry. However, you can use puff pastry for the top of a pie crust, it will give your pie crust a crispy, flaky texture.

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