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When is blind baking appropriate?

For those who don't know what blind baking is, it's the pre-baking of the bottom crust of pies so it doesn't get soggy/undercooked when filled with filling.

That being said, it seems that blind-baking is beneficial in every pie recipe since a bottom crust that holds up to a filling is desired in every pie. But is there a hard and fast rule for when blind-baking is necessary and when it isn't? Because truth be told it is kind of a pain to blind bake.

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  1. If the filling does not require further cooking once it goes into the pie pan or tart shell, the crust must be blind-baked.

    If it is important that the top crust adhere to the bottom crust, as in a lattice-topped pie, blind-baking is inadvisable.

    An alternative to lining the dough and weighting it is to use two identical metal pans, sandwiching the dough between them, then inverting the sandwich to bake it, so gravity prevents the sides from shrinking. Put foil, parchment, or a sheet pan on a rack below the rack on which the sandwich sits, just in case any of the fat from the crust drips out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      If a Filling does not require further cooking it should be put in a fully baked not blind baked.

      1. re: chefj

        Joy of Cooking defines blind baking as a pie crust that is baked without a filling, and goes on to explain that they should be baked fully.

        ???

        1. re: sunshine842

          I was taught that it was a preliminary bake with no Browning.
          But you and greygarious seem to be correct and I stand as such

    2. I agree that in almost every case a Blind bake improves the finished Pie.
      Baking on the Floor of the Oven, with a Pie that will be in a while, can yield a really nicely cooked bottom Crust as well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefj

        That's exactly what I was thinking of doing. Or perhaps refrigerating the top portion and filling while leaving the bottom raw crust at room temp.

      2. I would blind bake in most cases. I probably wouldn't, though, in something like a chocolate chip cookie pie. But overall, if you want a nice, crispy bottom crust, the blind baking is the way to go. Just make sure that the edges don't get overdone when you bake the pie.

        5 Replies
        1. re: jbsiegel

          to prevent that, take a long narrow strip of foil and wrap it around the pie so that it covers just the edges.

          it still gets very, very dry, but at least it doesn't look burned.

          1. re: sunshine842

            Exactly what I do. I haven't succumbed yet to buying one of those metal "shields" that they make!

            1. re: jbsiegel

              I love the shield. It only cost me a few bucks, and popping it on is so much easier than fussing with strips of foil on a hot pan/in a hot oven.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                I love mine too. Use it all the time!

              2. re: jbsiegel

                I've got a silicone shield that you can adjust to fit different sizes. Not as easy to use as the metal ones, but it does work.

          2. I hate blind baking, which I consider a major PITA. I rarely partially blind bake even when recipes suggest you do so. I rarely have trouble when using Pyrex pie plates, which brown the bottom crust very well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              how so?

              Not picking on you -- just not understanding what's causing you such problems.

              I used to have a big glass jar of kidney beans that sat on a shelf and looked decorative - the secret was that they were my pie weights -- I put a piece of parchment on the empty pie shell, dumped that jar of beans onto the parchment -- then when it was cool, I just picked up the parchment by the edges and funneled the beans back into the jar.

              1. re: sunshine842

                Yes, I have a large bag of beans that I use for blind baking. No secret there. It's the only way to do it, IMO. I usually use foil for this and not parchment. I know how to do it, and do it when I have to, I just find it an extra step that's a bit of a PITA.