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Apr 13, 2010 12:43 PM

Pie weights -- how weighty?

I'm a fairly new baker and encountered my first recipe calling for pie weights. I don't want to buy them, and love some of the CHer's ideas for substitute weights -- particularly coins and silverware. (I don't have any dried beans on hand, the most popular option apparently.) My question is ... how much weight does blind baking require? A couple of spoons, or cover the whole tart crust with cutlery? A handful of pennies or several dollars' worth? ;) Does it depend on the dough? Any guidance would be appreciated -- I don't have time to stop into a kitchen supply store to judge the weight of a typical package of pie weights.

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  1. In my opinion, it is not so much the weight as the volume, which is why I find those little amounts of pie weights or chains to be useless. When you are blind baking a pie crust, the idea is to keep the crust in place as it bakes. Without a sufficient amount of beans, for example, that will nearly fill the crust (which should have foil or parchment over it first), the crust will likely slide down the sides once it gets hot. Invest in a big bag of beans -- you can use them over, and over, and over. I let mine cool and then store them in a baggie with the pie plates. I think that there is nothing better since they fill the crust up completely pushing against the side of the the crust as it bakes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      Realizing this thread started years ago, but I'll ask much parchment paper is needed? Should it cover the entire crust (bottom and sides), or just the bottom? And do you find you need to add cooking time to the crust with the added beans and parchment inside?

      1. re: Ferraro41

        Bottom and sides. You need to remove it and the beans before the crust is completely baked otherwise it will be dark around the edge and underdone under the parchment. Anyway, I mostly use tin foil these days, which I find easier to mold to the unbaked pie crust before I put the beans in.

    2. I like Jacques Pepin's method, which requires two identical pans: Put the crust in one pan. No need to dock with a fork. Place the second pan atop it, and invert the whole "sandwich". Place it in the oven: gravity will keep the sides from shrinking and the crust will brown evenly without puffing.

      9 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I remember having seen that once. Have you actually tried it? Are the pie plates stacked without anything like foil or parchment in between?

        1. re: roxlet

          Nothing in between. The "sandwich" goes right on the oven rack, and it worked fine.

          1. re: greygarious

            Thanks to you both -- maybe I will buy some beans, roxlet. Greygarious -- I'm using a tart pan w/a removable bottom. I like the idea of Pepin's method -- think it will work w/a tart pan, or is it better with a more traditional pie plate?

            1. re: herring

              Yikes! I definitely would NOT use the Pepin method with a tart pan with a removable bottom!!

              1. re: roxlet

                Good point -- after I thought about it, I'm not sure how I would fix the bottom of the second pan so it didn't drop out! To the bulk foods section for some beans, I guess ... I was hoping to avoid that. Thanks for your help, though!

                1. re: herring

                  I'd set it on something like an inverted tuna can or something that will hold it up from below. Empty, of course, and clean.

          1. re: greygarious

            I tried it but the crust stuck to the wrong pie pan and crumbled when I pulled the pans apart. Now I'll have to start over and ruin some beans.

            1. re: TheFoodREader

              Beans, and lots of them. Easy, cheap, and it works every time.

          2. You said you're doing a tart pan? I use two sets of ceramic pie weights for a tart and it fills up the whole pan. They're a little too heavy I think, but since I magically ended up with them I just use them but I think beans would be better. Two bags of beans should be more than enough for anything.

            I agree that the volume is more important than the weight. A couple of crust recipes I've used needed the support of pie weights all the way up the sides, while one I made almost doesn't need weights at all. Trial and error is your friend here, with so many variables. The double pie pan thing... it worked for me a few times then I had a few horrible results... maybe there's some trick to it.

            And just in case anyone's ever seen those perforated pie pans, put them down, give them back, throw them away. The lovely butter in my crust dripped out the holes and I had a lovely, smokey, greasy oven, and had to set it in a second pie tin to keep from getting grease everywhere. Ack.

            1. I use the beans, but rather than foil or parchment I use plastic wrap. If you leave it long enough to go over the top of the beans it shrinks around the beans so you can lift it out with no risk of spilling hot beans all over the floor.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sarahjay

                but you are cooking plastic wrap in your oven, and it's touching your pie crust!>?!?!?!

                1. re: xiaobao12

                  yes. it lifts off with the beans inside, no spilling hot beans on the floor.

                  1. re: sarahjay

                    Almost a year later, but I think xiaobao12's issue is you're heating plastic directly in your food. Aren't you concerned about toxic chemicals in your food?