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Are you a cream pie lover, like lemon meringue or chocolate cream maybe? These pies are a favorite to make but the one really important thing you need to make a cream pie is a baked pie crust. Most cream pie fillings are poured into a baked pie crust and that is what today’s blog post is about. There is a name for prebaking a pie crust it’s called blind baking and today’s post is all about Blind Baking Pie Crusts. I will share the good, bad and ugly truths around this crust.
Blind baking is a very old technique for baking a pie crust without any filling
The technique for blind baking is not hard but there are several steps to take for success.
The goal is to create that perfect golden brown crust that holds it shape
- Pick a pie plate that has a lip around the edges so the pie crust has something to adhere to
- I prefer using half butter and half shortening in the crust. The butter adds great flavor and the shortening helps the crust keep its shape.
- Chill the pie crust before baking.
- Use rice, beans, sugar or pie weights to weigh down the pie crust while baking
- Dock the pie crust halfway through the baking to let steam escape
What happens if you don’t weigh down the pie dough during baking? I can almost guarantee that the pie crust will bake into some odd shaped, puffed up, weird looking crust.
This pie crust just went in the oven without chilling and without weights. It’s just not pretty, the sides collapsed and the crust shrunk and bubbled up on the bottom.
This crust was chilled and it looks a bit better, but since the crust was not weighted down or docked it bubbled up. You could still use this but when you go to cut your pie, all those bubbles in the crust will collapse from the weight of the filling and you pie slice will be one big ugly mess.
Now that you have seen what not to do, let’s look a the right way to blind bake a pie crust. Don’t let these steps intimidate you they are all easy.
The pie plate ~ for cream pies you usually do not use a deep dish pie plate. I use the basic pie plate that is 1.25″ high. Just make sure your dough recipe is the right size for the plate. The pie plate should have a nice edge on it so when you crimp the pie dough it adheres to that edge.
The dough ~ For almost all of my pies I use half butter and half shortening for two reasons. I like the taste, texture, and flakiness of the dough. For blind baking, this dough holds its shape better than an all-butter dough since the shortening doesn’t melt as fast as butter. This is not to say you can’t use an all-butter dough. Your preference.
Chilling the dough ~ This is a must. After you put the dough into the pie plate just pop it into the fridge for a half hour and your dough will be happy and so will you when you pull it out of the oven and it’s held it’s pie shape.
Pie weights – Weighing down the pie crust while it bakes keeps the crust from bubbling up and falling over. My preference is rice but you can use pie weights, beans, lentils or even sugar. Line the pie crust with parchment paper then fill the cavity with your desired weights. Don’t throw the rice away, you can actually cook it or store for another pie.
Docking the crust – To release the stem that is under the pie crust you need to dock the crust by taking a fork and poking the half baked crust with the tines. Do this all over the bottom and the side. You will dock the crust mid-way through baking and after the weights have been removed.
Here is my method for blind baking.
The pie dough is crimped on the edge of the pie plate.
Place the parchment in the pie shell.
Filling the pie shell with rice. I fill the shell almost full and into the crimped edges of the crust.
Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. After that time remove the rice and parchment. Here is the partially baked pie shell after the rice is removed.
Next dock the partially baked pie shell on the sides and bottom.
Return the crust to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.
Here is the blind-baked pie shell…all done.
This is how your baked pie shell should look like after chilling, weighting and docking. The crust held its shape, no bubbles, it is flaky and nicely browned and perfect for a luscious cream filling.
Here is the recipe I use for my single crust pies.
Single Flaky Pie Crust
This is my go-to recipe for a single pie crust. It always comes out flaky and golden brown.
Single Crust Pie Dough
- 1 1/2 cups AP, flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
- 1/4 cup shortening, cold
- 4-5 tbls ice water
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
Cut in the cold, cubed butter and the cold shortening using a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add one tablespoon of water at a time mixing with a fork until the dough is moistened and comes together. You do not want a wet sticky dough or a dry dough.
Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes before rolling.
Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 12" circle to fit your pie plate.
Chill the dough for blind baking or before adding your filling.
For a prebake or blind baked pie see the above instructions in the blog post.
I just made a Butterscotch Meringue Pie and used this pie shell. It came out perfect.
Here’s my favorite recipe for a no rolled pie crust dessert, try this Apple-Cranberry Galette. It’s quick and easy and very adaptable to so many other fruits.
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