Blind baking is the process of pre-baking a pie crust or tart shell before adding the filling. This is typically done when the filling does not need to be baked, such as with a cream pie or when the crust will be filled with something that doesn't take long to bake, like a quiche. Blind baking helps to ensure that the crust is fully baked and crispy before adding the filling.
There are a few steps to blind baking a pie crust or tart shell:
Preheat your oven to the temperature specified in your recipe.
Roll out your pie crust or tart dough and place it in your pie dish or tart pan. Trim the edges and flute or decorate the edge as desired.
Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. This helps to prevent the crust from puffing up while it bakes.
Line the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill it with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. These weights help to keep the crust from puffing up and ensure that it retains its shape as it bakes.
Bake the crust for the amount of time specified in your recipe, usually 10-15 minutes. Then, remove the weights and parchment paper or foil and continue baking the crust until it is fully baked and golden brown, usually an additional 5-10 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool completely before adding your filling.
Here are a few more tips on when to blind bake a pie crust or tart shell:
If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust: Many recipes, especially those for cream pies or quiches, will specify that the crust needs to be pre-baked. In these cases, you'll want to follow the steps for blind baking as outlined above.
If your crust is very wet or soft: If you're making a pie crust or tart dough that is on the wetter or softer side, it may be a good idea to blind bake it to help it hold its shape and prevent it from getting soggy when you add the filling.
If you're using a recipe that doesn't specify: In some cases, a recipe may not specify whether or not the crust needs to be pre-baked. In these cases, you can usually tell whether or not you need to blind bake the crust based on the type of filling you'll be using. If the filling is wet or will be baked for a longer period of time, you'll want to pre-bake the crust to ensure that it doesn't get soggy. If the filling is dry or will be baked for a shorter period of time, you may be able to skip the blind baking step.