Blind Baking (Pre-Baking) A Pie Crust

Blind baking, sometimes called "pre-baking", refers to the process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without the filling. Generally, the pie crust is lined with tin foil or parchment paper, then filled with dried peas, lentils, beans or other pulses, or with ceramic "baking beans", so that it will keep its shape when baking. Metal or ceramic pie weights are also used. After the pie crust is done, the pulses are replaced with the proper filling. Blind-baking is necessary if the pie filling can not be baked as long as the crust requires, or if the filling of the pie would make the crust too soggy if added immediately. Use the following steps to blind bake a pie crust:

  1. Prepare the pastry dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface or place between 2 sheets of waxed paper.
  3. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 1/8 inch thick disk large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pie pan.
  4. To get it to fit snugly, drop it onto the counter gently a few times to help the pastry settle into the edges.
  5. Loosely fit the dough into the greased pie pan and gently press the dough edges into the sides.
  6. Trim the excess dough off the edges of the pie pan and press in desired edge design.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the butter.
  8. Using the tines of a fork, lightly prick the bottom of the dough to prevent puffing during baking, but do not overdo it.
  9. Line the dough with parchment paper, or a coffee filter, covering the edges to prevent the crust from becoming too dark. Aluminum foil can also be used, but some bakers believe this prevents the crust from "breathing".
  10. Evenly fill with pie weights, dry beans (baking beans), dry peas, or uncooked rice. Make sure to gently push the beans or rice up against the sides of the parchment or coffee filter, to keep the sides of the crust from collapsing in the heat of the oven.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (177°C) for 15 minutes, or until the top edges just begin to turn color.
  12. Remove the baking beans and parchment paper, or coffee filter.
  13. If the edges of the pie crust start to brown too quickly, cover them with pie crust shields to prevent over browning. If you do not have pie crust shields, you can make some out of aluminum foil.
  14. Brush with egg wash, if desired, to create a seal.
  15. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the edges of the pie crust are light golden brown.
  16. Take out from the oven and leave to cool for about 30 minutes.
  17. The pie crust is ready to be filled.

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