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Test Kitchen video tip: Blind- and par-baking a pie crust

March 05, 2013|By Noelle Carter
  • Strawberry pie
Strawberry pie (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Blind baking, or pre-baking a crust, is common when you are using a filling in the pie shell that does not need to be baked, or that bakes up quickly. Both flaky pie and short tart crusts need to be weighted before baking so the pastry doesn’t puff  on the bottom or slip on the sides.

RECIPES: 34 pie recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

To blind-bake a crust, line the dough with foil, parchment or a large coffee filter, then fill it with weights. You can use formal pie weights -– the ceramic or metal weights you can buy in a store -– or keep it simple and use rice or dried beans.

Most recipes will specify the temperature you need to blind bake a crust, generally calling for a higher temperature. The higher temperature gives the crust a chance to set quickly before the fat melts and softens the dough.

Depending on the size of the crust, you’ll want to blind bake it for 15 to 25 minutes to set the sides and edges. Then remove the weights, dock the crust if needed, and continue to bake until the center of the crust is set, 5 to 10 minutes to par-bake, longer if the crust is to be fully baked.

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You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

Strawberry pie

Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time

Servings: Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

VIDEO: Click here to watch Times Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter make this pie.

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water, divided

1/2 cup orange juice, from about 1 large orange

1/2 cup rum

1 sprig mint

3 tablespoons cornstarch

8 cups strawberries, about 2 1/2 pounds, hulled

1 baked 9-inch single pie crust

1. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, stir together the sugar, one-half cup water, the orange juice and the rum. Gently crush the sprig of mint in your hand to release the oils, and place the mint in the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes, and continue to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to marry the flavors. Remove from heat.

2. While the liquid is coming to a simmer, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining one-half cup water to form a slurry. Stir the slurry into the pan, then heat the pan over medium-low heat and cook until the liquid thickens (it should just begin to bubble), 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and discard the mint sprig.

3. Arrange the strawberries in the prepared crust. Pour the thickened filling over the berries, then refrigerate the pie 3 to 4 hours to set the filling.

Each of 8 servings: 338 calories; 4 grams protein; 46 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 19 mg. cholesterol; 22 grams sugar; 222 mg. sodium.

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