Serious Eats: Sweets

Pie 101: Blind Baking

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[Photograph: Lauren Weisenthal]

If you like to bake pies and tarts, sooner or later you're bound to encounter a recipe that instructs you to blind bake the crust prior to adding your filling. The term "blind baking" simply means baking the crust sans filling, and the method itself can feel a little strange and counter-intuitive to the uninitiated baker. To blind bake a pie or tart shell, you simply line the chilled, shaped dough with foil or parchment, fill it with pie weights or dried beans, and bake it until the edges have set and can stand up on their own. Then, hoist the parchment or foil with the weights inside out of the shell, and return it to the oven to finish baking.

There are a few different reasons that a recipe might call for blind baking. If the item contains a stirred custard (one that's cooked on the stove) such as a cream pie, the crust must be baked separately for obvious reasons. For baked custard pies (like pumpkin or pecan) blind baking may also be required to ensure that the crust is cooked through despite being filled with something wet.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when blind baking a pie or tart shell:


About the author: Lauren Weisenthal has logged many hours working in restaurant kitchens and bakeries of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is a graduate of the Artisan Bread Baking and Pastry Arts programs at the French Culinary Institute and holds a CS certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. You can follow her on Twitter at @evillagekitchen.

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