Recipe: Blind Baked Pie Crust

ready to go blind baked pie shell

ready to go blind baked pie shell

Making pumpkin, sweet potato or pecan pie for Thanksgiving?  Then it’s time to learn how to Blind Bake a Crust. 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 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 a pumpkin or pecan pie.

You goal is to pre-cook the pie shell without having the dough slip down the sides into the pan.  To achieve this the freezer is your friend.

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: 

Place an oven rack on the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°.

Make your pie dough and put it in the pie pan as you would normally.  Don’t roll your dough super thin.  A 1/16″ crust is the thinnest you should go. Be sure to make an attractive finished edge.  The more crimped the crust the better it holds when blind baked.

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 pan with the pricked crust in the freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes.  This will stabilize the butter, which will help keep the dough from sliding down the sides of the pan once it hits high heat.

Line the frozen, pricked dough with parchment paper.  Some people (thanks Sherry Yard!) use large coffee filters which you can find at warehouse stores.  Be gentle as you line the dough with the paper so you don’t “cut” the dough with a sharp edge.

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.  Once you reuse them a lot they will start to stink.  So throw them away and buy new beans.  Easy.

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.

Prick the sides and bottom again with a fork, Brush the sides and bottom of the crust with lightly 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.

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