|

What is Blind Baking?

looking down into a baked off tart shell

Blind baking is that nifty trick that we use when we want to partially (or fully) bake our tart or pie base, before we add the filling. The goal here is simple. To avoid a soggy pie crust, and make sure that your pastry is completely cooked by the time your filling has finished baking.

A banner ad for our YouTube channel.
YouTube channel @becstable Hit SUBSCRIBE and stay up to date 🙂

You’ll find countless recipes that demand a blind-baked base, which is why getting the hang of this technique is crucial. But don’t let it scare you! Give it a couple of tries, and you’ll master it. There are a few tricks to the trade. Once you’ve got them down, your tarts and pies will turn out perfect every single time.

A slice of tart that's not quite cooked all the way through on the base.

Take this Frangipane Tart above, for example. Notice how the pastry base looks a bit underdone, even slightly moist? If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic! There’s a way to salvage it. If you have a pastry stone, warm it up in the oven and then place your tart on it. Cover with foil and allow it to bake for another 10 or so minutes.

For pies that don’t require further baking, like a lemon curd pie or a chocolate ganache tart, you’ll want a fully baked crust. These are fillings that are either already cooked or fresh.

A pastry base that has been blind baked.

On the other hand, a partially baked crust is ideal for pies with a wet filling that needs additional baking, but cooks faster than the pastry. Think about how quickly eggs cook – that’ll give you a clear idea of why you’d want to fully pre-bake the base for something like a quiche. Otherwise, your eggs might end up overcooked and rubbery by the time your pie base is perfectly baked.

I’ve got some secrets up my sleeve to make this whole process a bit easier and a lot less daunting – that’s why yoiur here, right?

Cheese cake base sliced on a white board.

Take a look at cheesecake. Notice how perfectly the pastry base is cooked – it’s not damp at all.

I always stress the importance of understanding the difference between partially and fully baked crusts in my pastry classes – but hey, I’m a pastry chef, so I suppose that’s to be expected!

When I say “partially”, I mean baking the crust until it’s still light, or blonde, in colour. It should look dry but without any added colour or maybe just a hint of it. This sort of crust is perfect for recipes where the filling also needs to be baked. If you were to bake the crust until it was golden brown, the edges would be burnt by the time the filling was ready.

Here’s another trick. During the second stage of blind baking (when you remove the weights), you can brush some eggwash on the base of the pastry and let it bake a bit more. This creates a protective layer between the filling and the crust, preventing any sogginess.

Next up, the tools that can help simplify this process for you…

Blind baking with non-stick pie tins

You’ll generally find that there’s enough butter in your pastry recipe to keep it from sticking to your tin. Trust me, good-quality non-stick pans are a game-changer.

So, you might want to rethink greasing your tin with butter or spray. Especially if you’re making a flaky pastry, as you could end up with excess butter if you’re too generous with it on the tin.

What are your options with pie weights?

Back in the day, we’d use uncooked rice or beans as pie weights in commercial settings. However, since running my cooking school, I’ve switched to these handy little ceramic beads designed specifically for this task. I was convinced to give them a go by one of my suppliers, and honestly, they’ve helped my students avoid a number of issues they’d often encounter with rice.

Pie weights being used for blind baking.

Rice can be a bit of a nuisance if even a single grain gets lodged in your pastry. And let me tell you, don’t even try to remove it with your fingers. Your best bet is to head straight to your cutlery drawer and fish it out with a butter knife. It can also be tricky to spot a stray grain of rice in your pastry, and trust me; you do not want to miss it.

Pie weights warm up nicely and are heavier, so you don’t need to fill up your pie as much as you would with rice. Plus, they’re a breeze to pour into a metal bowl or tray when hot and allow to cool. You could also opt for larger beans, like kidney beans or chickpeas, as pie weights. But having used the ceramic pie weights, I can vouch for their superior performance.

So, what are you waiting for? Get baking! 😂

Want to learn more?

If you want to know more about pastry, you can join our Online Perfect Pastry Course or Take a look at our Bake Club Online.

6 Comments

  1. Hi Bec, do you have any tips on preventing the pastry from shrinking? I roll it into the tin, trim but after blind baking the sides always shrink 😕

    1. Yes, for sure. Roll it out then leave it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before you put it into the tin. In cold weather you can just leave it on the bench but if it’s warm in your kitchen pop it in the fridge while it rests. The gluten is what is causing the issues. It’s like elastic until it rests for a bit. 😉

      1. Thank you so much Bec. I usually rest once it is made in a ball but not after I have rolled it out. Will give that a try!

    1. Thanks Judy. It’s so true, I still attend the occasional cooking class to learn new tips from other chefs. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from the people I’ve worked with, but there’s always more to learn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *