All About Blind-Baking Pies

Everything you've ever wanted to know about blind-baking piecrust

Blind-baking: It's one of those terms you've heard thrown around but aren't sure what it means. This trick is the secret to making some of the best single-crust pies out there—Key lime, pecan, pumpkin—and is worth learning. No matter the season, read up on why it's pie time (heh) to learn about blind-baking.

Blind-baking essentially is the process of prebaking a piecrust. This insulates a filling from the heat later on, so that sweet, eggy custard fillings won't curdle in the oven. And don't forget savory pies: Most quiches also benefit from a prebaked crust. Plus, it helps keep the crust from getting soggy when the liquid filling finally comes in for the landing.

Not all pies are created equal, so not every pie requires the prebaking step. You're less likely to see blind-baking in a recipe for a fruit-forward pie than in one that features creamy Key lime custard. Here are a few situations where you'll want to prebake:

① When you're baking the crust but not the filling. Example: a Girl Scout Cookie-inspired chocolate peanut butter pie. Blind-baking is your one shot to cook the dough.

② When the filling bakes at a lower temperature than the crust can cook at. Example: this gooey chocolate-coffee pecan pie or this herbal lemon-verbena summer dessert.

③ When you're using pie filling that cooks for a short amount of time. Prebake the crust to ensure it has enough oven time to turn golden brown.

Blind-baking causes the shell to shrink a bit, so account for this when lining the pan. Follow these three simple steps the next time you're rolling in the dough:

Place your rolled-out crust in the pan and crimp the edges however you want. Prick the bottom multiple times with a fork to prevent it from puffing up.

Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil over the crust and add two to three cups of pie weights or dried beans to weight the crust down as it bakes.

Bake it for the time that your recipe calls for, which should be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes at around 400 degrees, then remove the weights and let the dough cool slightly before adding the filling.