This ultimate guide on how to blind bake or par-bake pie crust will give you the perfect base for your pies. Filled with par-baking tips and troubleshooting, this blind baked pie crust works great for a wide range of pies.
Hi hi! Just popping in to share with you this post on all things blind baking! I love making homemade pies, but was quite intimidated by single crust pies for a long time (even as someone who bakes for their job!) because I was unsure on the blind baking process.
This ultimate guide on how to blind bake pie crust walks you through the process step by step, hopefully covering all my tips and tricks when it comes to blind baking or par-baking a pie crust. I use my homemade pie crust recipe for blind baking - I always have some in the freezer ready to go when needed!
Blind Baking vs Par Baking
Blind baking a pie crust involves either partially baking or fully baking a pie crust before you use it. They use the exact same technique, the only thing that differs is the amount of baking time. This depends on what the pie crust is going to be used for:
- Par-baked pie crusts: A partially baked crust is called for in recipes which you are going to bake the pie again, often with a wet pie filling. Par-baking gives the crust a head start on the baking process, so that when the filling is added, the crust is already partially baked. Par-baking is used for pies such as my brownie pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, oatmeal pie, rhubarb custard pie, apple butterscotch pie, and strawberry rhubarb pie, along with other custard pies.
- Blind Baked pie crusts: Blind baked pie crusts are a fully baked crust and are used for recipes which have a no-bake pie filling, such as a lemon meringue pie, chocolate cream pie, banoffee pie, or a french silk pie. You want to fully bake the crust, as it will not get another chance to crisp up. The recipe that you are using will specify whether the pie crust needs to be blind baked or par-baked!
Why do fruit pies not get blind baked?
I do not usually par-bake my fruit pie crusts - this is because with a fresh fruit filling (or even with a cooked fruit filling such as my apple pie or my blueberry crostata), the pie has long enough in the oven that it gives the crust enough time to crisp up properly, removing the need for blind baking.
How to blind bake pie crust
A super flaky pie crust is the ultimate goal when making pie. The best way to make sure that you don't have a soggy sad pie bottom when making a pie such as a pumpkin pie? Par-baking, or blind baking.
The layers in flaky pie crust come from the tiny layers of butter within the pie dough. When this cold butter hits the hot oven, it causes steam, which puffs up the pie crust.
While some bakers blind bake a crust without weights, I have always had huge issues with my crust puffing up, so it needs something to weigh it down for the first part of the baking period, to allow the crust to partially bake and set, and to also hold the lovely crimped edge in place.
Blind baking is done by preparing your pie crust in the pan, leaving it to chill, then filling it with crumpled parchment paper and pie weights of your choice. The weights stop the crust from fully puffing while in the oven.
The parchment and pie weights are then removed for the second part of the blind baking process, in order to give the bottom of the pie crust a chance to bake and dry out a little, ready for its filling.
For all my tips and tricks on foolproof homemade pie crust, along with troubleshooting tips, check out my post on how to make pie crust
How to line a pan with pie crust
While the way that you blind bake pie crust is important, getting the pie plate nicely and evenly lined with the pie crust is super important. I use my super easy homemade pie crust recipe - I have a few tips and tricks which makes it super homogenous and easy to work with, perfect for making a blind baked pie crust.
- Roll out your pie crust. Roll the crust until it is a little larger than the pie plate you are using - starting with the dough shaped into a disc is super helpful here. Use bench flour and take your time - pop it back into the fridge if it starts to get too warm. Try to roll it out so that it is nice and even in thickness.
- Line your pie plate. Either plop the rolled out pie crust into your pan, or roll over your rolling pin and unfurl it over your pie plate.
- Settle your crust. This is super important - gentle grab the edges of the crust and make sure that it is settled all the way into the bottom of the pie pan.
- Trim your crust. If you are doing a crimped crust, trim the edges slightly so that you have an even amount of overhang over the edges of the pan. I like to use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors for this job.
- Fold and tuck. Fold and tuck the edges of the pie crust under, to give you a nice smooth edge crust. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up slightly.
- Crimp. Crimp the pie crust as desired! You are now ready to blind bake your crust.
The importance of chilling your pie dough
In order to make sure that your pie dough is easy to work with, it needs to be nice and cold. In my pie crust recipe, I chill it for at least two hours before using, but I prefer to give it overnight if I can. This gives the dough time to relax and hydrate properly before being rolled out into a pie crust.
I also like to chill my pie crust at multiple steps along the way before blind baking it. Once I have rolled it out and tucked the edges under, I pop it back into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to chill before crimping.
Then, once the pie has been crimped, I dock it with the tines of a fork to help prevent it puffing up in the oven, and place it back into the fridge again for at least 30 minutes. I will often give it 10 minutes in the freezer just before it goes in the oven to help set the crimps - you don't want to fully freeze it or the pastry will not puff up as nicely with frozen butter as it would with just chilled butter.
You can line your pan with pie crust and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before par-baking or blind baking.
What are pie weights?
Pie weights are little weights used to fill the inside of the blind baked pie crust, to help stop the middle puffing up in the oven. You line the chilled pie crust with crumpled parchment paper, then fill the crust up to the edges of the crimps using pie weights.
I have a few sets of ceramic pie weights (they never sell enough in one pack so I had to get a bunch to make sure I have enough), but you do not need to buy weights! Dried beans or rice works great, or you can use sugar to weigh down the parchment paper.
If you use beans or rice, you can use them over and over again for blind baking - just store them in an airtight container. You cannot use them to cook with for regular recipes once you have used them to bind bake.
Can I blind bake pie crust ahead of time?
Yes - I often do this! You can blind or par-bake pie crust ahead of time. Store it either in an airtight container, or wrapped in plastic wrap on a sheet pan for up to a day.
Glass vs Metal Vs Ceramic - what is the best material for a pie pan?
I want to preface this by saying that the kind of pie pan you use is absolutely up to you - this is just my personal preference! I much prefer a metal pie pan - my favourite is made by USA pan.
I much prefer a metal pan - I find that I get a more even bake, and that it is easier to avoid a soggy bottom of the crust. A ceramic pie dish works ok too, but I would avoid using glass - it is a very poor conductor of heat, so can often lead to a soggy bottomed pie.
Will this technique also work for savory pies?
Yes! Blind baking is a great way to start off making something like a quiche where you don't want the bottom crust to soak up too much of the filling.
Will this method work with a store-bought crust?
I don't have a huge amount of experience working with a store bought crust, but if you want to blind bake it, this method should work!
Why do you turn the oven down after you remove the pie weights?
The baking after the removal of the pie weights is the most stressful part for me - I found that at a higher temperature, it was hard to judge when the crust was a nice enough golden brown to come out of the oven. Turning down the temperature a little gives you more time to make sure that your crust is perfectly baked!
Which oven setting should I use for Pie Crust?
I learnt to make pie crust in a gas US oven, which is bottom heated. I have found that the best setting, if you have an electric oven, is a bottom heat only, which prevents the top of the pie burning. You can always tent it with foil if you find it getting too brown too quickly!
How to tell when a pie crust is fully baked
This can be tricky - if you are fully blind baking the pie crust, you need to remember that this is your only shot to bake it, so make sure that you take it far enough so that it is not soggy. The crust is fully baked when it is evenly golden brown, and the surface is nice and dry. Some recipes will have you add a layer of egg wash to help protect the pie crust from the filling.
For a Par-baked crust, it is important to remember not to over bake the crust too much. I give my par-baked crusts about 15-18 minutes in the oven with the weights on, then only 3-5 more minutes with the weights out, just to dry out the bottom crust of the pie. It will get plenty more baking in the oven, so you only want a little bit of golden brown around the edges of the pie, as the exposed crimps will be directly exposed to the heat of the oven again when you return the pie to the oven. I do my pie crusts directly on a baking sheet, but you can also add in a baking steel or baking stone if you are worried about the pie crust.
Pie Crust Troubleshooting
Here are all my tips and tricks on the actual baking of the pie crust - if you are having dough problems, check out my guide on how to make pie crust.
How do I stop my pie crust from shrinking?
There are a few reasons why a pie crust shrinks, the most common one being that the pie dough was over worked and not left to rest enough. Resting the pie dough is super important as it means that the gluten strands have a chance to relax, and don't contract in the oven, leading to shrinkage. Make sure the crust is super settled in the pie pan, and give it some time to relax after you line the pan - I like tucking under my crust, then leaving it for 10-15 minutes in the pan to relax before crimping and docking.
How do I stop my crust from losing the crimp in the oven?
This is often due to your dough not being well rested, or it being too wet - make sure that it is not over hydrated when you make it, and give it adequate time to rest and chill after you crimp the crust. I like to pop it into the freezer for 10 minutes before baking just to set the very outside of the crimped edges.
How to stop pie crust from slipping
Pie crust can sometimes slip down the sides of the pan when baked. To avoid this, make sure you fill the crust with pie weights or beans right to the top edge, to help hold the crust in place.
My pie crust puffed up when I took the weights out. What should I do?
This happens to me almost every time - just poke it with a fork and any big bubbles should sink back down!
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This ultimate guide on how to blind bake pie crust will give you the perfect base for your pies. Filled with pre-baking tips and troubleshooting, this blind baked pie crust works great for a wide range of pies.
- Pie crust, prepared and chilled at least two hours (my homemade pie crust recipe makes enough for 2 crusts)
- Flour for rolling
- Make and chill the pie crust as directed.
- Once the dough has rested, unwrap one disc and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to ¼” (6mm) in thickness, turning the dough 45˚ often as you are rolling to keep it even. You want the circle to be slightly larger than your pie tin. Transfer to a 9” pie tin, and arrange to ensure that the dough is well settled.
- Trim the dough using scissors or a sharp knife, leaving about one inch excess around the edges. Gently tuck the dough under and onto itself, to give you a neat folded edge. Chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the fridge and crimp as desired. Dock all over with the tines of a fork, then chill for a further 30 minutes. If you would like, place into the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
- While the crust is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f / 220˚c. Cut a piece of parchment slightly larger than the pie dish. Line with the parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans, filling right to the bottom of the crimps.
- Place the pie tin on a baking sheet, and place in the oven. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, remove the parchment paper and beans.
- Return the pie to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°f / 190°c.
- For a Par-baked pie crust, bake for a further 2-3 minutes, until the inside of the pie crust is set and barely golden.
- For a Blind baked pie crust, bake the pie crust for a further 5-10 minutes, until the crust is evenly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
There are two options within this post - blind baked and par-baked, please choose the one your recipe specifies!
Keywords: Pie crust, blind baking, blind baked pie crust, pie crust recipe