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Blind baking is done by lining a pastry shell first with parchment paper and then with some kind of weights to ensure that the bottom stays flat and the sides upright.

I have seen recipes that use rice, lentils, beans or even ceramic pie weights. And apparently all of them work. But does the choice of weights matter? Is there a difference e.g. between rice (small grains, each comparatively light) and beans (larger heavier beans)? Has anyone tested this?

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  • You might want to add pennies/coins to your list.
    – Debbie M.
    Jun 14, 2020 at 18:18
  • @DebbieM. Does it matter? Because they are made of metal and conduct heat better than beans?
    – Stephie
    Jun 14, 2020 at 18:22
  • I don't know, but I have seen them mentioned, so I thought answers might address that.
    – Debbie M.
    Jun 14, 2020 at 19:46

1 Answer 1

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What matters is keeping the crust from puffing and pulling away from the pie plate or tart mold. So any of those work...more or less the same, but the typical drawback is that it is difficult to keep the sides of the crust in the proper form. One of the most ingenious ways to deal with the issue is to line your pie plate with dough, place parchment on top, place an empty pie plate on top of that. Now flip the whole thing over so that the empty pie plate is on the bottom (placed on a cookie sheet). The dough is now baking upside down on top of the empty pie plate (leave everything in place, so that the dough is between plates with parchment while baking)...no shrinking or puffing. Also...a well-chilled dough helps. You can even form, then return to the fridge for a while to chill before baking.

Edit after question in the comments: The question from @Alex led me to revisit the origin of this technique, which I recently heard about on Dave Arnold's radio show, "Cooking Issues." It comes from a book called Pie Marches On by Monroe Boston Strause. It can be found online. It does not use two pans as I originally thought, rather, he blind bakes on the bottom side of one pie tin. Then flips onto a shallower pie tin for cooling and filling.

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    ... which unfortunately will work only if you have two identical molds. Thanks for the excuse to buy double next time ;-)
    – Stephie
    Jun 14, 2020 at 18:32
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    I think it's worth emphasising that the parchment paper is essential. Otherwise the weights push too heavily on the pastry immediately below them and the baked pastry has dimples (for ceramic beads) or other unsightly indentations. Jun 14, 2020 at 20:28
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    @MarkWildon...or the weights get baked into the crust...not good!
    – moscafj
    Jun 14, 2020 at 20:38
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    I've used coins, beans, even a pile of nuts and bolts when I didn't have anything else, and I've never noticed a difference. I have a container of ceramic beads now and I think they're the best for the job, mostly because there's a lot of them and I can fill up the pie pan with them.
    – GdD
    Jun 14, 2020 at 20:46
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    @Alex your question led me to revisit the origin of this technique. I recently heard about it again on Dave Arnold's radio show, Cooking issues. It appears that I was incorrect. There is only one pan used. It is baked upside down, then turned into a shallower pan to cool and use. I will edit my answer now.
    – moscafj
    Jun 27, 2020 at 14:12

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