Blind baking is an important technique both for pie fillings which don’t require further baking and also to ensure a super crisp crust for those that do. When rolling the dough, be sure to lift the dough frequently to allow it to shrink in so that it doesn’t shrink as much during baking and when lining the pie plate, ease the dough in and avoid stretching it. The ‘weights’ are needed to keep the pie crust from puffing. Choosing the right pie crust also is a great help to prevent shrinking.
A large coffee urn filter or piece of parchment, crumpled to help it conform to the shape of the pie plate, works perfectly as a container for the dried peas, beans, or rice. You can spray the under side of the parchment to ensure that it releases easily from the dough but I don’t find it necessary with coffee urn filters! If they are too high for your oven, trim them down a bit with scissors as we did here.
After lifting out the weights, set a foil ring on top to keep the border from over-browning, and return the pie shell to the oven for about 3 minutes. Watch carefully and press it down gently with the back of a spoon or spatula if it puffs up in places. Bake only until it begins to become golden brown in a few places. If you are making a pie that will require more baking, best not to pierce holes in the crust as it may cause the pie to stick to the pie plate.
Our blind baked pie shell became the perfect vessel for the open-faced apple pie from The Pie and Pastry Bible.