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I often use bought puff pastry to make a topping for a chicken pie. However, I tend to find that the pastry is fully cooked on the top but the underside of the pastry remains almost raw. How can I avoid this?

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When you were placing the puff pastry over the stew filling, was the filling cold or hot? –  JasonTrue Mar 13 '13 at 3:52
    
Would a convection oven help? –  Blessed Geek Mar 13 '13 at 6:17
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2 Answers

A few points to consider...

1) Try docking the pastry. Docked portions of pastry will rise more than undocked portions. This will promote even cooking.

Docking means to pierce lightly with a fork, or a docker (looks like a spiked paint roller), to make small holes in dough that will let steam escape during baking. This helps the dough to remain flat and even.

ref: http://powerhungry.com/2009/02/puff-pastry-docking/

2) In general, to cook food more evenly, one should cook longer at a lower temperature. The problem is that the dough on the bottom of your crust is not reaching a high enough temperature by the time the top of your crust is done cooking.

3) Puff Pastry is notoriously finicky. Be sure to handle the dough according to puff pastry best practices to ensure the layers do not collapse and stick together.

Pepperidge Farm has a tutorial website (http://www.puffpastry.com/videos-and-tips#howto-demos) to help people with puff pastry issues, but it doesn't appear to cover much detail.

  • You must be very gentle when rolling out the pastry because it is multiple layers of dough with fat between each.
  • Do not mangle the dough, cut clean lines and try not to apply pressure except where the knife is cutting
  • Do not let the dough get warm before you are ready to cook. The fat melts and the layers will stick and not puff properly.
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I assume you are add pastry to the top of an oven proof dish filled with your chicken pie!

Simple: Have your rolled pastry ready in the fridge.
If you're using the pre-rolled pastry - about 3mm thick - leave it as is.
If you're buying a block roll it out to 3mm thick - see tips.
Make sure your pie filling is hot.
Pour the filling directly from your sauce pan into the oven proof dish.
Lay your pastry over the top, trim it if you want.
Brush the top of the pie with egg wash (30% milk 70% egg beaten)
Put it into the oven - which should be preheated - and bake @ 200C/390F for 20-25mins
If you oven is fan assisted set it to 180C/350F.
You should not have a fabulous chicken pie! Assuming you've made a cracking filling of course!

Tips:
When you're working with puff pastry keep it as cool as possible (which is why pastry work is normally done on a marble surface)
Handle it as little as possible. (keeps it cooler)
When you're done rolling it put it into the fridge until you need it.
If it gets warm the fat will seep between layers and the pastry wont puff!
Did I mention you should keep it cold! ;)

If you have a read of this it'll give you an idea of how puff pastry is made! I wrote it a long time ago but nothing's changed since then!! ;)

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