Today we’ll walk you through how to blind bake a pie crust for any cold-filling pie recipe. This is a perfect way to get a perfectly flaky crust when you are making an unbaked filling like a cream pie.
Folks, I know ‘blind bake’ might be a foreign term. It means to pre-bake your pie crust prior to filling it. Primarily, this is used when you need to fill a pie crust with an unbaked filling, like a cream pie or a mousse based pie.
If you have made pie crusts, you know it’s a delicate process. When you fail to follow the proper technique you will end up with crusts that have breakage, bubbling, or shrinkage. You don’t just place the pie crust in the oven and hope for the best.
Even if you’ve tried other methods of blind baking, I encourage you to try this one as it’s the easiest method and I have been able to replicate its success without fail. When you use this method, you’ll find that you will not have shrinkage or break your pie crust.
How do you blind bake a pie crust?
There are not many rules, but let’s cover the basics:
Cold is Key
You’ll want to have your pie crust 100% cold before baking. When you use butter in your crust, it has a lower melting point than other fats, so it will shrink more than, say, shortening. So to make it simple, keep the pie crust cold so it will reduce the amount of the shrinking or melting you have experienced in the past.
What we did was chill the assembled pie crust for 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Pie Weights are Essential
Professional bakers and chefs use pie weights to get the best possible crust in their pies. While we offer pie weights on our website, you don’t have to own weights. They can be an added expense, especially when you might not bake enough. I suggest that once you get a sweet tooth for baking pies often enough, you can then invest in pie weights. However, you might already have some of the most commonly used pie weights:
Regardless of what weights you use to bake the pie crust, you need to use parchment paper. Use it as a shield between your weights and the crust. As a side note, you won’t be able to make anything with the natural pie weights once you’re done baking the crust because they will have been baked to the point of being unable to be cooked.
Double Bake for Success
My first bake always starts with the pie weights which allows me to set the edges to a nice hue. The second bake allows me to ensure that the bottom of the crust has achieved the same crispy and thorough cook as the edges have in the first.
In order to achieve this, you need to mark the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork (this is called docking). By doing this, it will prevent bubbling of the pastry before you bake it for the second time.
How Long do You Bake it for?
It takes about 40 minutes to fully bake a blind crust. Once you allow it to cool, you are ready to fill it with your favorite pastry cream, cream filling, or pie filling.
- 1 all butter based pie crust (or you can substitute a frozen or refrigerated crust)
- Rice, beans or lentils (for baking) or pie weights
- Prepare your pie crust as directed in the recipe. Place in your pie plate and crimp as you desire.
- Chill the pie crust for at least 4 hours or you can freeze for 30 minutes to one hour prior to baking.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Place your parchment or aluminum foil in the bottom of your pie crust. Make sure the lining fills the entire cavity of the crust. Fill the pie with the weights.
- Place the pie on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the crust have started to turn brown.
- Remove the crust from the oven. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the parchment or aluminum foil and the weights. Using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom of the crust.
- Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is browned and has cooked through.
- Allow to cool completely before you fill as desired.