If you love a flaky, non soggy crust with your pumpkin or pecan pie then blind baking is for you. If you’ve never heard of blind baking before, its a method where you bake a crust without the pie or pastry filling in it.
This method is not difficult, and you don’t need any expensive equipment. You can watch me blind bake in my Craftsy.com video Perfecting the Pie Crust.
Why Should I Blind Bake a Pie Crust?
There are a few reasons to Blind Bake a pie shell. First, if you want to use a traditional pie shell for a filling that doesn’t need to be cooked in the oven, like for a cream pie or an ice cream pie, you need to first cook the dough.
Another reason is to prevent a soggy crust when you’re baking a custard based pie, like for pumpkin or pecan pies.
You goal is to pre-cook the pie shell, but you don’t want the dough to slip down into the pan.
Here is what you need:
Parchment paper or aluminum foil or very large coffee filters
Pie weights or Dry Beans or Rice
1 egg white, lightly beaten
How to Blind Bake:
Make your pie dough and put it in the pie pan as you would normally. Be sure to make an attractive finished edge. The more crimped the crust the better it holds when blind baked.
Place an oven rack on the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°.
Use a fork to prick the dough over the bottom and the sides. This helps keep the crust from bubbling up and allows steam to get out so the crust crisps up nicely
Put the pricked crust in the freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes. This will stabilize the butter, which helps keep the dough from sliding down the sides of the pan once it hits high heat.
Line the frozen, pricked dough with parchment paper, foil or cake liners. Some people (thanks Sherry Yard!) use large coffee filters which you can find at warehouse stores. Be gentle as you line the pan so you don’t “cut” the dough with the sharp edge of paper.
Now fill the dough shell with pie “weights”. Rather then buying expensive “gourmet” pie weights I prefer using dry beans or rice. I like to fill the shell all the way up to the edge, to keep dough slippage to a minimum. Pie weight sets never come all the way up this high and you have to buy two or three of them. Beans and rice are inexpensive and you can reuse them.
Bake the pie shell for 15 minutes. Carefully remove it from the oven. Bring a heatproof bowl near you. Lift up the paper, or aluminum foil liner with the weights and carefully move it to the bowl.
Brush the sides and bottom of the crust with beaten egg white. This will create a barrier to the liquid in your filling. Put the pan back in the oven and continue to bake for another 5 minutes for a pie that will be cooked in the oven, like pumpkin, pecan or custard. For a pie that will have a cold or ice cream filling bake the shell for an additional 15 minutes.
Remove the pie shell from the oven and let it cool completely before using.
You can save the dry beans or rice to use again and again in a plastic bag or container once they cool.