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Pies and tarts are pastries that consist of a minimum of two components: the first, a relatively thin pastry (pie) dough, when baked forms a crust (also called pastry shells) that hold the second, the filling, which classifies them by type. Some fillings are precooked and placed in a prebaked pie crust, through a process called blind-baking.
Thin pie crust dough can be paired with a needs-to-be-baked filling and then, baked together, open-face or topped with the optional third component, pie crust dough or sweet crumbs, are some examples.
SARAH SAYS: Remember to cut steam vents in the top crust before baking. As the filling cooks, it produces steam, which gets released through the vents. If they aren't there, the filling will seep out of the pie in random spots and get all over the oven.
Pies come in many shapes. Some can be made into decorative shapes or decorated. These are some of the more familiar ones:
Classic Pies: They are typically baked in pie plates, called regular or deep-dish, with sloping sides, typically 8 or 9-inches.
Deep Dish Pies: Deep dish fruit pies are often baked with a top crust only, made either of pastry or baking powder biscuit dough. It is baked in a deep dish pie pan or casserole dish.
Main Dish: Deep dishes lined with pie dough to encapsulate hearty ingredients to serve as a main meal. Quiches are an example.
Pop Tarts: Kellogg's is credited with inventing the Pop-Tart or your very own individually wrapped piece of pie warmed in a toaster. If you want a real piece of pie (without all of the chemicals and artificial flavors) in your own toaster, try making it yourself. It is really a flaky pie crust encasing a filling.
Tarts: Europen cousins of the dessert pie. They are smaller versions of pies baked in short-sided fluted edged pans with a removable bottom, the pan being half the depth of a pie pan. They can be baked in a pastry ring placed on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Tarts are made with a bottom, and with sometimes a whole top or lattice one, each made from a buttery, flaky dough or a crumb crust. The bottom crust provides a perfect foundation for fruit and custard fillings and even with chocolate. Many of the same fillings used in pies are used in tarts, however rich fillings are more practical in a low tart shell than in a deep pie one. Bottom crusts can include a crumbly, delicate and cookie-like crust with added ground nuts, cocoa and spices, or can include a flaky puff pastry crust.
All tarts end up being free-standing because after baking, they are taken out of the pan and put on a platter for serving, as the pan's removable bottom helps to facilitate this.
Large tarts: 9 to 12-inches; Small tarts: 3 1/2 to 4-inches; Tartlets: Single serving version of tarts. Miniature tartlets: 2 to 2 1/2-inches; Barquettes: 3-inches long and about an 1-inch wide at the middle.
Galettes: Free form pies made without pans. The dough is rolled out directly on a flat cookie sheet (without rims) and then, the filling (usually fruit, never custard) is spread over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. The border is folded in to cover the outside portion of the filling, all the way around the galette. The folds are then adjusted to look like sharply defined pleats, while the filling shows through the middle.