Today we’re talking about blind baking or pre-baking a pie shell. In this Baking Basics Tutorial, you’ll learn how and when to blind bake a pie crust. Use this technique for custard pies, fruit tarts, and quiches. This simple technique is perfect for preventing soggy pie crusts!
Read on for my exact method for blind baking and a great recipe to practice with. The next time your recipe calls for a pre-baked pie shell, you’ll know exactly what to do!
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What is Blind Baking a Pie
Blind baking is also known as pre-baking. It is a method of pre-cooking your pie shell without any filling in it.
Once you learn the technique for blind baking, you’ll never have a soggy or under baked pie crust again.
When to Blind Bake Your Pie
Now that you know what blind baking is, you need to know when to pre-bake your crust and when to bake the crust and filling together. After all, not every pie needs to be pre-baked. So when should you pre-bake your pie shell?
Anytime you want to bake a custard pie, (probably the most well-known custard pie is a pumpkin pie) you’ll want to blind bake the crust. Custard filling has a lot of moisture. If the filling and crust get baked together all that moisture will make the crust soggy. If you tried baking the custard pie long enough to fully cook the crust, the custard would be overcooked and cracked. The answer is blind baking!
Until recently I did not blind bake my quiche. I was always a little disappointed with the mushy texture on the bottom. Once I tried it for the first time, I was sold! If you think about it, a quiche is basically a custard so technically it should be blind-baked. Now my quiche has a nice flaky bottom crust and I get so many more compliments.
No Bake Pies
The most common time you’ll come across a recipe calling for blind baking is for no-bake pies. Desserts like coconut cream pie, banana cream pie, chocolate cream pie, and fresh strawberry pie all require a pre-baked pie shell. Whether you are using a graham cracker crust or a traditional flaky pie crust, it needs to hold up to being sliced and served and a pre-cooked shell is perfect.
How To Blind Bake a Pie Shell
To blind bake a pie shell you don’t need any special equipment. Chances are, you already have everything you need in your kitchen.
You will need to know how to make pie dough, roll it out into your pie plate and crimp the edges. You’ll also want to start with a pie dough that has been chilled for at least 30 minutes after rolling it out.
Lining the pie shell
After you have rolled out, shaped, and chilled your crust, you’ll want to line the pie shell with either aluminum foil or parchment paper. I prefer aluminum foil because I can fold the edges down a little so that I can see the crust and know when it starts to get brown.
Weighing it down
Because the crust has moisture in it, steam will form and the crust will puff up. The way to avoid this is to weigh down the dough. You can use dry beans, rice or pie weights to weigh down the crust. I use dry beans and save them to use multiple times.
How Long to Bake the Shell
Bake the shell for 20-25 minutes at 350°. Keep an eye on the crust edges and watch for browning. That is your sign that it is ready to come out.
Half baked Pie shell
A half baked pie shell is partially cooked and holds its shape without shrinking back. The edges are lightly browned, but the bottom is still slightly doughy.
When to use a half baked pie shell– Use these for pies that are going to be baked with a filling. All custard pies should go in a half baked pie shell.
How to half bake a pie shell- When you notice the edges of your crust starting to brown, remove the pie crust, scoop out the dry beans or pie weights and remove the parchment or foil. The bottom will be very slightly doughy. This usually takes about 20 minutes at 350°
Fully Baked Pie Shell
A fully baked pie shell is fully cooked and holds its shape without shrinking back. The edges are lightly browned, and the bottom is flaky and fully cooked.
When to use a fully baked pie shell– Use a fully baked pie shell any time you are pre-cooking the filling of your pie, or when the filling requires no cooking.
How to fully bake a pie shell- Bake as you would for a half baked pie shell up to the point that you remove the pie weights and foil. Now place the pie shell back in the oven and bake it for 5-8 minutes more to finish cooking the base.
Blind Bake a Pie Crust with Confidence
Now that you know how to blind bake a pie crust, you’ll be able to bake the best pies around! Just remember: Line it, Add Weights, and Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
For even more ways to improve your pies, check out my recipe for the best pie crust for blind baking. You may also enjoy My First Place Strawberry Shortcake Pie or my Fresh Strawberry Pie recipes.
Homemade Flaky Pie Dough
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces and chilled
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening measured and chilled
- 3 Tbsp water very cold
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, place flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse until combined, approx 30 seconds.
- Add the chilled butter and shortening. Pulse for about 8-10 quick pulses until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. Fat pieces should be well coated in flour and approx pea-sized.
- Pour the mixture into a medium mixing bowl and lightly sprinkle water and vinegar measurements over the top of the fat and flour mix. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in liquids.
- Need very briefly until mixture comes together. Cover in plastic and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a circle about 10 inches in diameter.
- Gently lift the dough into a pie plate and lightly press it into place. Trim any overhanging dough, and crimp or flute the edges.
- Place the pie crust back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.