If you’re new to baking, you might be curious about the concept of “blind baking.” This refers to the process of pre-baking a pie crust before filling it, to prevent it from becoming soggy.
But, the trick to successful blind baking is using pie weights! Some recipes recommend using pie weights during this step, but beginners usually wonder what do pie weights do and how to use pie weights.
However, there’s no need to worry! As we are here to explain you how do you use pie weights.
While it may seem like an extra step, blind baking with pie weights is quite simple and effective and will result in delicious outcomes. Pie weights are especially useful when making pies without fillings or those with moist fillings.
In this article, we’ll explore what exactly pie weights are, what can be used as pie weights, and why they can be so helpful.
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Pie Weights and Blind Baking: What’s the Relation?
Blind baking – a handy method for certain pies that people have been using for a long time now!
It comes in handy when the crust and filling require different cooking times. For pies like cream, custard, or chiffon pies, where the filling doesn’t bake, you start by pre-baking the crust and allowing it to cool before adding the filling.
Moreover, blind baking also works well for fruit pies. These types of pies can end up with a soggy bottom crust because the juices from the fruit seep into the uncooked dough and there comes the blind baking which helps prevent this issue.
However, simply putting your crust in the oven won’t do; you might end up with a puffed-up or shrunken crust, which isn’t what you’re aiming for. To keep it flat and even during blind baking, pie weights are essential helpers that hold everything down securely throughout your baking process.
Types of Pie Weight
Now, that you are aware of what do pie weights do and what are pie weight used for, here are the different types for you to explore.
Ceramic pie weights
Ceramic pie weights are an excellent choice for baking the ideal pie crust. Due to their propensity for retaining and evenly distributing heat throughout the crust, these tiny kitchen implements perform miracles when blind baking. They are safe to use in ovens that reach 446 °F (230 degrees Celsius). When baking, the hard ceramic substance does an outstanding job of controlling your crust and preventing it from expanding or contracting.
The pie chain is for you if you picture a tangle of stainless steel beads that will save the day when you’re blind-baking a pie crust. It stands out for its user-friendly design, which makes it simple to take apart once your crust is baked.
All of the beads are linked together by a chain. Similar to other pie weights, a pie chain is your dependable ally in the fight against crust bubbles. A flat, even crust is guaranteed by the heaviness of the steel’s beads, and even baking is guaranteed by the material’s superior heat conductivity.
Aluminum Pie Weights
Aluminum pie weights are a valuable weapon if you’re dealing with smaller pie molds or tart shells, though. These tiny aluminum baking beads do an excellent job of anchoring your crust and preventing any unwelcome puffing. Because aluminum is an effective heat conductor, your pie crust will bake evenly, producing a delicious, tender, dry, and cracked texture.
Additionally, because of their diminutive size, they can fill in any openings or cracks that might occur when using other kinds of pie crust weights in smaller molds.
What Are Pie Weights Used For?
If you are still confused about what are pie weights used for, here is a little detailed explanation;
It can be a little challenging to blind-bake a pie crust, you know. The empty crust frequently behaves badly. It might start to pull away from the corners, ruining your meticulous crimping. Bubbling is yet another problem. When the dough’s butter or fat melts, steam is released. A little steam is beneficial because it renders the pastry flaky and tender.
However, without a filling to keep it in place, the steam can cause the dough to puff up before falling back down, giving you a wrinkly and less-than-appealing pastry.
What makes pie weights so useful, then? This is why:
Avoid Shrinking: Pie weights hold the pastry in place and prevent it from shrinking away from the edges. Your crust holds its shape and appears tidy.
No More Bubbling: By pressing the crust down, they ensure that the surface remains perfectly flat. When you bake, this stops the dough from puffing up excessively.
Even Baking: Pie weights ensure even baking, eliminating lumps and puffy spots from your crust.
Dry Bottom: They prevent any moisture from penetrating the dough during blind baking. This keeps the pie crust’s bottom flaky and dry.
Easy-to-Remove: When you’re finished baking, pie weights are simple to remove. You can then proceed to the following step without any problems.
Reuse them: Numerous pie weights can be utilized repeatedly. They are thus a sensible and affordable option for home bakers.
How Do You Use Pie Weights?
If you want to learn how do you use pie weights perfectly, follow the instructions given below.
Step 1: Get the pie crust ready
Start by making your pie crust from scratch or buying one from the store. To form your pie shell, press the crust into your pie plate and crimp the edges to give them a pretty edge.
Step 2: Pie Shell Lining
Line the pie shell with parchment paper in order to keep the pie weights from adhering to the dough. To avoid spilling the hot weights, make sure that the parchment is big enough to have a lot of overhang on all sides.
Step 3: Add Pie Weights
Make sure the pie crust is completely filled before adding the pie weights gently. You might require additional weights if you’re preparing a deep-dish pie. Bake at the temperature and for the amount of time recommended in your recipe. If your recipe is missing this information, a safe starting point is to bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4: Taking off and cooling the weights
Dispatch the crust from the oven. Pie weights should be carefully removed from the crust using the parchment paper that is hanging over it and placed in a heat-resistant bowl to cool.
Step 5: Unweighted Crust Baked
Put the crust back in the oven, but this time place it so that the areas that had been wrapped up are directly in contact with the heat. This process shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
Step 6: Cool and proceed
Before continuing with the rest of your recipe, remove the crust from the oven and let it cool at room temperature. By doing this, you can be sure that the pie’s crust is prepared for your savoury pie filling.
What Type of Pie Weights are Best?
You have a selection of pie weights to choose from. Pie crusts are frequently kept from puffing up during the blind baking process by using ceramic balls and metal chains.
Typically, these choices cost $10 to $15. Additionally, dried beans are an affordable substitute; however, because of flavor alterations during baking, they shouldn’t be consumed afterward.
Some recipes call for wrapping the crust with aluminum foil when using pie weights, but parchment paper is preferable. Better airflow is made possible by parchment paper, resulting in a pie crust that bakes more evenly and tastes better.
What Can You Use Instead Of Pie Weights?
If you don’t have pie weights, other kitchen items can do the job when blind baking your pie crust. Check out below what can be used as pie weights.
Granulated sugar: One great substitute is granulated sugar, which not only helps to weigh down the crust but also adds a hint of sweetness to your pie.
Beans: Beans that have been dried out can be a great substitute for pie weights when blind baking. They effectively hold the crust in place, just like regular pie weights.
Steel ball bearings: If you have a hardware store nearby, you can try using steel ball bearings, if you are wondering what can be used as pie weights. They work great for getting a nice crisp crust and also help prevent any unwanted air bubbles while baking.
Dried rice: The dried rice from your pantry is another convenient option as a replacement for aluminum pie weights. The small grains of rice work perfectly in smaller crusts or tart shells, preventing any undesired expansion during baking.
In order to avoid air pockets, bubbling, and shrinkage of the pie crust during blind baking, pie weights are crucial. They secure the dough, ensuring that it holds its shape throughout baking. It is indeed, a tiny but essential tool for making perfect pie crusts!