Photo by Ted Cavanaugh, Chelsea Cavanaugh, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich
Nobody—nobody!—likes a soggy pie crust. That’s where blind-baking comes in. The process of prebaking your crust is crucial for pies with no-bake fillings, like lemon meringue or chocolate pudding. It’s a two-step process: First bake your crust filled with pie weights or dried beans—this helps it keep its shape instead of slumping into a gloppy mess. On the second round, take the weights out and bake until it’s deeply browned—and we mean deeply. You’re aiming for the color of a brown paper bag (yes, that dark!) for the best texture and flavor. When in doubt, it’s better to overbake than underbake. You can also bake this pie crust ahead if you’re multitasking a big meal and need that precious oven space. It will keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days.
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- Makes 2 single-crust pie shells
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt
- 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½" pieces
- Whisk sugar, salt, and 2⅔ cups flour in a large bowl. Add butter and, using your fingers, smash each piece into a thin disk. Take your time doing this and don’t feel compelled to break butter into even smaller pieces. Drizzle ⅔ cup ice water over, dispersing it as widely as possible, and mix with a rubber spatula to bring mixture together into a shaggy mass.
- Turn dough out onto a surface and work together with your hands, pushing and flattening until dough holds together when squeezed in your palm but some streaks of dry flour are still visible. Divide dough into 2 portions.
- Flatten 1 portion of dough into an 8"-diameter disk. Cut into quarters, stack pieces on top of one another, and flatten dough with a rolling pin to about half of its original height. At this point dough should hold together with no dry spots remaining, and have nice big flakes of butter showing. Use a bench scraper or a large knife to clean any clingy bits of dough from surface. Dust surface with flour, then dust top of dough with flour. Roll out to a ¼"–⅜"-thick round. Wrap dough around rolling pin and transfer to a standard 9"-diameter pie dish. Unfurl into dish, then lift edges and allow dough to slump down into dish. Trim overhang to an even 1" (there will be some excess). Fold overhang under and crimp as desired. Cover and chill until very cold, at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours (cover tightly if chilling longer than 1 hour). Repeat process with remaining dough and another pie dish. Or form into a 1½"-thick disk, wrap in plastic, and chill up to 3 days (or freeze up to 1 month).
- Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat oven to 400°F. Lay 2 sheets of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans (they should fill the dish). Set on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (this will keep any butter drips from smoking up your oven). Bake until edges are golden brown and bottom is opaque (carefully lift parchment to check), 30–35 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Lift out parchment and weights. Bake crust until evenly chestnut brown all over, 10–15 minutes. If baking both crusts, turn oven dial back up to 400°F and let oven preheat; repeat with remaining crust.
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