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Jan 22, 2011 06:39 AM

Help! Need a sub for pie weights that isn't dried beans

I'm making a crust for a blood orange tart and forgot that it needs pie weights. I know you can substitute dried beans but what if you don't have any? Can I try a smaller pie dish on top? Thanks!

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    1. You can sandwich the dough between two pie pans. It's even better if you invert the sandwich, so gravity provides extra insurance that the dough won't shrink on the sides.

      Coins and other small metal objects like screws, washers, etc., also work well. You can just pile them onto the foil or parchment you've covered the dough with, but if you have an oven bag it's convenient since you can move everything at once. Metal, whether as small objects or a second pan, give you the extra benefit of transferring more heat to the dough than beans or clay pie weights.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        Inverting the pans? Wow, that's brilliant! I learn something on this site every day, and I have been baking for decades!

        1. re: Isolda

          Credit goes to Jacques Pepin, not me :-)

      2. Coins would work fine.
        I usually find that pricking a crust all over is all that it takes to prevent shrinkage; no need for pie weights.

        1. In a catalog I recently saw what looked to me like regular chain (like on dog tags or pull chains for lamps) being sold as pie weights. I plan on buying a very long length of chain and using that for my pie weights in the future. In the picture in the catalog, the chain was just coiled around the bottom of the pie crust.

          1. Rice, coins, double panning or docking the crust; try the inverted pan method greygarious described; they all work just fine. Chill your shell thoroughly, or better yet, freeze your shell first, it also lessens the shrinkage, although there is always a little.

            If you're making your crust in a removeable bottom tart pan, extend the crust up (as in straight up) a scant 1/2" or so, above the rim of the pan, instead of leveled off at the rim edge. Then shrinkage won't be as obvious for the end result. This technique is not possible if you use the inverted pan method, though.