Many recipes for fall pies and tarts call for “blind baking,” which refers to prebaking the crust before adding the filling. This process helps to prevent a soggy shell, producing a flaky, buttery crust instead.
The unbaked crust is lined with foil and filled with pie weights (or a similar substitute), which keep the crust from bubbling and help prevent shrinkage. Partway through baking the foil and weights are removed, then the crust is baked until golden brown.
|Line the dough with foil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or according to your recipe. Line the dough with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure to press the foil into the fluted edges of the dough.
Fill the foil-lined crust with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Make sure the weights cover the entire bottom of the crust. Bake the lined crust until dry, about 15 minutes or according to your recipe.
|Check the crust
Check to see if the crust is ready by pulling up one corner of the foil. If the foil sticks, the crust is not fully dried. Return it to the oven, checking again every 2 minutes.
|Remove the weights
Carefully remove the weights and foil. Most recipes call for the crust to be baked again until partially baked, about 5 minutes longer, or fully baked, about 10 minutes longer.
|Let the crust cool
If filling a fully baked crust with an egg-based filling or for a tart that’s served cold, let the pastry crust cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.
Try out the technique with these seasonal pie and tart recipes: