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I was wondering how to make the breading/crust on the top of a chicken pot pie really crunchy, not flaky, but crunchy and crispy.

I know all the ingredients to make the topping in the first place. I just don't know what to add to give it that extra crunch. I don't know if anyone has had the pot pie from KFC, but I want my topping and sides to be that crunchy.

Can anyone help me?

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1  
Haven't had the KFC one, any idea if its deep-fried? That'd probably work. –  derobert Apr 19 '12 at 16:09
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Have you tried using an egg wash? That's the first idea that came to mind when I read your question, but I didn't want to put it down as an answer because I can't really back it up. –  wanderingscribe Apr 25 '12 at 15:26

3 Answers 3

What kind of ingredients are you using in your current crust topping? Usually the addition of a bit of butter will add to the crunchiness a bit, that would be my first suggestion.

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Just a thought, you might like to swap your normal breadcrumbs for "Panko" Japanese crumbs, (available in most supermarkets) these crisp up more efficiently with tiny dots of butter on top. The other trick I often do for crispy breadcrumb toppings, is to add a small amount of dry couscous to the mix, before baking.

I also roll wet potatoes in dry couscous, to make roast potatoes really crispy, The extra texture and crunch is great.

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I really doubt the OP is talking about bread crumbs. Most pot pies are made with pastry dough as the crust. And while I understand that some faux pot pie use bread crumbs as the top "crust", I don't that's what the OP is talking about. Specifically when the OP says that she wants the crust to be crunchy rather than flaky(how normal pastry crusted pot pies are). –  Jay May 13 '12 at 5:42
    
Thanks Jay, the wording "breading/crust" confused me, as in Australia we would take that to mean of a breadcrumb-type. For a more crusty shortcrust pastry topping, try placing one layer of pastry over pie, then egg wash the top, and add another layer of pastry, and then egg wash it. –  Charmaine May 14 '12 at 5:30

I am going to assume that you used pastry for the crust of your pot pie.

Did you make the crust yourself or did you use store bought crust? If you are making the crust yourself, then there are several things you can do to make the crust "crunchier."

You can change the recipe of the crust slightly and make it into a shortcrust pastry dough rather than the flaky pastry. A shortcrust pastry is very similar in flavor to the flaky pastry but due to slightly different ratios and preparation, the texture is closer to what you desire. It uses less fat to flour ratio(about 2:1 flour to fat) and fully incorporates the butter and the flour. Most pastry recipe will tell you to not over-mix the dough or it will not turn out flaky. Since you want the opposite, you should on purposely fully mix it. This will result in a less flaky, firmer crust. Finally, adding an egg wash will also give the top crust some extra crunch.

These changes will insure that the taste is still relatively similar while the texture become a bit closer to what you want.

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Good idea, but bad details. First, standard shortcrust is 3:2, not 1:1. Second, you won't get gluten formation. For gluten, you need water and flour, fat and flour won't build gluten, no matter how long you mix. Also, you don't really need gluten for a crunchy crust, it gives you a tough dough. –  rumtscho May 13 '12 at 10:02
    
@rumtscho, I thought flaky pastry was 3:2? I actually made a typo and meant to type 2:1 flour to fat ratio, not 1:1 for shortcrust. –  Jay May 13 '12 at 18:21

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