How to Bake Blind
Select your pie dish. Tin or glass pie dishes are most common.
Place your freshly prepared pastry in the pie dish according to the recipe’s instructions. To achieve a snug fit, gently drop the pie dish onto the kitchen bench a few times to help the pastry settle into the edges.
Chill the pastry base for half an hour in the freezer to firm it. Cover the dish with a clean tea towel or greaseproof paper. This firming assists in stopping the pastry from shrinking during baking.
Dock the dough by piercing the base with a fork in several places to allow airflow and prevent bubbles. Don’t overdo it, though; too many holes will let the filling leak through the crust.
Place one of the following over the pastry base, cutting the covering wide enough to make sure it covers the edges as well:
Baking paper or greaseproof paper
TIP: ‘Scrunch’ the paper up a few times before using – this makes it more pliable and able to mold into the bottom angle (and sides of a fluted tin).
Coffee filter (unbleached)
Aluminum foil (vented tent) — make a “breathing” crust shield)
Place dried beans, dry rice, dry lentils or pie weights on top of the covering. This prevents the pastry base from rising through air bubbles, which would leave it uneven and weakened. For easier clean-up, place the beans in an oven bag or a cheesecloth satchel tied with kitchen twine.
Place the pie dish in an oven at the temperature and for the length of time suggested by the recipe. If there is no suggested temperature, or you are making this up as you go, heat the oven to medium heat (approx. 200ºC) and bake the base for approximately 15 minutes, (less for a pastry containing sugar). Keep an eye on its progress; the key colour to watch for is a light golden brown.
Remove the dish from the oven and allow the pastry to cool for 3-5 minutes. At this stage, some chefs apply an egg wash to the crust to prevent it from absorbing moisture from the filling. To do this, cook the pastry for a little less time in Step 7. Pop the glazed base back into the oven for a 2-minute bake to set the egg wash. Remove once again and allow 1 minute for cooling before adding the filling.
Add filling and bake the pie for the time recommended by your recipe. If you are not following a recipe, reduce the heat for the last baking (180ºC). Because the base and edges are baked by now, the pastry will continue to brown while you leave the whole pie in the oven. To allay this, make sure the filling will bake quickly (sometimes you will need to precook it to get the baking time down enough) and cover the edges of the pastry with a foil ring.