Efficiently blind-baking pie shells without weights

Lemon Meringue PIe

There's an excellent video on Bake, by a King Arthur Flour's baker, on efficiently blind-baking a pie shell without weights or shrinkage. When blind baking pie shells (essentially baking an empty pie shell so it either gets a head start or is totally baked before ingredients are added) there can be a tradeoff between a cumbersome technique (adding beans or pie weights) and shrinkage.

The King Arthur approach, as demonstrated in the video, is to sandwich the pie shell between two pie tins, one on bottom and one on top. Put these on a baking sheet and cover them with another baking sheet (or two). Bake at 420 for 20 minutes for partial baking or finish them off. 

And if you want to try out this technique, a classic pie that needs prebaked shells is lemon meringue. Here are some online recipes for lemon meringue pies from the EYB library (photo is of The Amateur Gourmet's Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie.)

1 Comment

  • BonnieontheBlock  on  7/22/2013 at 3:22 PM

    But this is baking with a weight. The second tin serves as a weight and form for the shell. So.... Heston Blumenthal has an interesting method for baking blind. His deal is to take parchment, crush a couple of times to make it more pliable and then to fill it with coins, because metal is such an efficient conductor of heat and the distribution of weight is better than either beans or pie weights. It's cheap and easy and produces a lovely crisp crust. See Heston Blumenthal at Home for a step by step pictures of his process. I think it is also documented in the Search for Perfection videos, the Perfect Lemon Tart episode.

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