Pre-baking a pie crust is typically done when the filling is not baked or requires less cooking time. It helps to ensure a crisp and fully cooked crust before adding the filling.
When should you pre bake a pie crust?
Pre-baking, also known as blind baking, a pie crust is a technique used in baking pies to ensure that the crust is fully cooked and remains crisp, especially when the filling requires less cooking time or is not baked at all. By pre-baking the crust, it creates a barrier that prevents it from becoming soggy when the filling is added. Let’s explore this concept in more detail.
Why Pre-bake a Pie Crust:
Ensuring a crisp crust: Pre-baking helps to achieve a crisp and flaky crust by partially or fully cooking the dough before adding the filling. This step creates a solid foundation for the pie, preventing it from becoming overly moist.
Preventing a soggy crust: Certain pie fillings contain a high amount of liquid, such as custards or fruit fillings. If these fillings were placed directly into an unbaked crust, they would release their moisture during baking, resulting in a soggy bottom crust. Pre-baking the crust forms a seal that helps to prevent the liquid from seeping into the crust.
A Quote on Pie Crust Baking:
“No pie-eating nation can be altogether bad.” – William March, American writer
Interesting Facts about Pre-baking Pie Crusts:
Pre-baking times may vary: Depending on the recipe and the type of crust, pre-baking times can differ. It can range from a partially baked crust for a brief period to a fully baked crust for a longer time.
Pie weights or alternatives: To prevent the crust from puffing up during pre-baking, it is common to weigh it down with pie weights, such as ceramic or metal beads. Other alternatives include using dried beans, rice, or even coins wrapped in foil.
Docking the crust: To avoid excessive bubbling or puffing up, it’s often recommended to dock the crust before pre-baking. Docking involves pricking the surface of the dough with a fork, which allows steam to escape and prevents air bubbles.
Shielding the edges: To prevent the crust edges from over-browning during pre-baking, it is advisable to use a pie crust shield or cover the edges with aluminum foil. This helps to maintain an even color and prevents them from burning while the crust bakes.
Here’s a table summarizing the key points:
|Why Pre-bake a Pie Crust||Interesting Facts about Pre-baking Pie Crusts|
|Ensures a crisp crust||Pre-baking times may vary|
|Prevents a soggy crust||Pie weights or alternatives|
|Docking the crust|
|Shielding the edges|
In conclusion, pre-baking a pie crust is important to achieve a fully cooked and crisp base for pies, especially when the filling requires less cooking time or has high moisture content. It adds a layer of protection against sogginess and provides a solid foundation for delicious pie creations. Remember, as American writer William March put it, “No pie-eating nation can be altogether bad.”
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Sam from Sugar Spun Run demonstrates the process of blind baking a pie crust in this video. After assembling the crust, it’s important to chill it in the freezer for 15 minutes before piercing the bottom with a fork and using pie weights and parchment paper to prevent shrinking. The crust should then bake in the center of the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, after which the weights can be removed and the bottom pierced once again. The crust is then baked until the edges are golden brown and the bottom is cooked through, for approximately another 10 to 15 minutes.
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You do not need to pre-bake a pie crust for an apple pie or any baked fruit pie really, but we do freeze the dough to help it stay put. Pre-baking the pie crust is only required when making a custard pie OR when making a fresh fruit pie.
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Add pie weights, dry rice, dried beans or (as I’ve done here) dry wheat berries, enough to fill the pan 2/3 full. Chill the crust for 30 minutes; this will solidify the fat, which helps prevent shrinkage. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 minutes.
- Pick the Right Pan. It all starts with the pie pan.
- Blind Bake Your Crust. Westend61/Getty Images.
- Brush Your Pie in Egg Wash.
- Consider Adding an Extra Filler.
- Create Slits for Double-Crust Pies.
- Bake On a Lower Rack with a Baking Sheet.
If you are pre-baking a store-bought frozen packaged crust, I recommend following the directions on the package for how to pre-bake that particular crust. Most instructions will have you defrost the crust, prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork, and bake at 375°F to 450°F for 10 to 12 minutes.