Q: What does "blind baking" mean?
A: "Blind Baking" simply means baking an empty pie shell without a filling. You would "blind bake" a pie shell if your filling was ready-to-eat. The most common pies with "blind baked" shells are cream pies. Think Coconut Cream or Chocolate Cream.
Pro Tip: Use pinto beans as pie weights as opposed to ceramic beads. They are inexpensive and get the job done.
How to "Blind Bake" a Pie Crust:
Note: Pre-heat your oven to 350° with your baking rack placed in the middle of the oven.
Start with your pie dough ready to go. It should be in your pie pan of choice, edges crimped, and ready to be baked (hence forth this will be referred to as your "pie shell"). Place your pie shell in the refrigerator while you wait for your oven to pre-heat to 350°.
Once you oven has reached temperate, remove your pie shell from the refrigerator. Place it on a baking sheet and line your pie shell with a piece of parchment paper or even a coffee filter. Foil is fine too.
Once your pie shell is lined, fill it to the brim with pie weights or pinto beans (like we do!). Using pie weights (or pinto beans) will help your pie shell keep it's figure. They weight down the dough so it can keep it's shape and not slump, leaving you with a sad, shapeless pie crust.
Once your pie shell has been lined and weighted, place your baking sheet in the oven. Bake your pie shell for 25 minutes at 350°. After the 25 minutes is up, take your shell out of the oven and remove the parchment paper (liner), pinto beans (pie weights), and any remaining pie weights or beans that might have remained in your pie shell.
Using a fork, pierce the crust several times all along the bottom, sides, and top ledge of your pie shell. This will prevent the pastry from expanding when you put it back in the oven. If you notice the crust puffing up in anyway, simply prick the puffy spots a few more times and keep baking.
Return your pie crust to the oven for approximetly 5-10 more minutes, keeping a close eye on it to avoid over baking. Remove crust once it is golden brown all over.
Allow your crust to cool before filling with your favorite cream pie recipe.
Note: You can blind bake a crust up to three days ahead of time. Just simply allow the crust to cool and then wrap with plastic wrap to keep it fresh. Store on your counter until you are ready to fill and serve.