Frozen Pie Crust, Pillsbury VS Trader Joe's


Even with all my zest and enjoyment in the kitchen I have to admit that baking is not really my forte.  I'm a 'pinch here and two shakes there' kind of gal, baked goods never turn out the way I want and my guess is it's due to the whole "pinch there, two shakes there" mindset.  

Because I can't bake (or perhaps I just don't have the patience for it), but love to make pies I've come to appreciate the frozen pie crusts you can buy at the market.  Most likely, the frozen pie crusts can't compare to homemade ones but if you just haven't the time or simply don't want to trouble yourself with it the frozen ones are pretty darn good.

So here we go, how does the Trader Joe's Pie Crusts and Pillsbury Pie Crusts compare?  Is one better than the other?

Ingredients: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat
flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mono-
nitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Oil (citric
acid added), Water, Butter (Cream [milk],
Natural Flavor, Annatto [for color]), Sugar,
Salt
The frozen pie crust I usually bake with is usually the Pillsbury brand, but on this day I was at Trader Joe's and lazy me didn't feel like making a second stop to pick up the usual pie crusts, besides the Trader Joe's brand may be healthier or maybe I should more accurately say "less worse for you" - (this was my subconscious backup excuse).  

Trader Joe's only has one kind of pie crust to choose from- this made it quite easy, a simple grab and go. One box comes with two rolls of pie crusts large enough to cover a 9" pie pan.

COOKING WITH TJ'S PIE CRUST
I thawed out TJ's pie crust as directed.  I allowed the pie crust to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow the crusts to sit out on the counter for 45-55 minutes before using.  When it came time to line the pie pan with the thawed ready-to-use pie crust I realized upon unrolling it that the pie crust was tearing easily where cracks had appeared on the crust. I assume the cracks had formed there during the freezing process and was no fault of my own.  Because of the amount of cracks and easy tears from the cracks it was difficult to simply pick up the pie crust and lay it in the pie pan, so instead I picked up the pie crust still attached to the wax paper it was rolled in and flipped on to the pie pan, aligned just so, and peeled away the wax paper.  At this point the pie crust is very thawed out and easy to mold, if you have the patience you could probably try to cover all the tears and cracks, I didn't try that hard, I simply put the crust with more tears on the bottom of the pie pan.  I layed out the top crust as I had the bottom using the wax paper to hold the crust together as I flipped it over on top and then peeled away the wax.  I then crimped, cut long slits at top and baked.  The pie crust browned normally, was thicker (yay!) and tasted delicious (very similar to that of Pillsbury, the taste is so similar one wouldn't be able to tell the difference), the only odd thing about the TJ's pie crust (save the cracking and easy tearing) was the way the crust looked once out of the oven, a bit more blankety with less crust definition, this may be due to crust being thicker and the way it bakes because of this thickness. This thickness also resulted in the vents that I sliced ontop to be baked over, as the crust became more doughy in the oven the crust sealed most of my vents as it heated then baked over the vents entirely< luckily this proved to be not such a big problem and didn't do any damage to the end results of the pie (just remember to make longer and/or bigger slices).


Ingredients: Wheat Starch, Lard Partially Hydrogenated, with BHA and BHT To Protect Flavor, Wheat Flour Bleached, Water, Sugar, Rice Flour, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate Preservative, Sodium Propionate Preservative, Citric Acid, Color(s) with Yellow 5 and, Red 40

Pillsbury Pie Crusts was the only pie crust I ever baked with until now, rolled and frozen in wax paper I always found Pillbury pie crusts easy to use.  Once thawed according to the directions the pie crusts are easy to use and unroll, no cracking and easy tearing to worry about.  The Pillsbury pie crusts are thinner than the TJ's brand however, this characteristic and the nutritional differences (largely due to the differences in thickness) between the two brands is what really sets these two crusts apart, otherwise the crusts pretty much tastes the same.

Surprisingly the Trader Joe's pie crusts contains double the Calories in Fat than Pillsbury, double in Saturated Fat and double in cholesterol.  As I said before, most likely due to the thickness in the crust. So while I may be tempted to feel that Trader Joe's has healthier pie crust- this isn't so and next time I will stick to my thinner but better-for-you pie crusts from Pillsbury that are also easier to handle.


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