Baking blind means baking or partially baking a pastry crust without the filling. Putting a filling into a pastry case that hasn’t been blind baked could make the pastry soggy; so when a recipe tells you to blind bake, it’s best to follow that advice. Once you’ve blind baked pastry a couple of times, and seen and tasted the difference, you’ll be converted. Blind baking guarantees your pastry will be crisp.
How to bake blind
Place a circle of baking paper or foil, about 5cm larger than the base of the pastry case, over the pastry and fill with uncooked rice or dried beans to weigh down the pastry so it will not rise.
Bake for at least 10 minutes, or as directed by the recipe, during which time the pastry will develop a crust under the weighted paper. Then, remove the weighted paper and bake the pastry case a while longer to make sure it is cooked enough to support the filling later.
If the pastry case is going to be filled with a filling that doesn’t need further baking, the case has to be cooked all the way through. This takes somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes after the weights have been removed.
If the pastry case is to be filled and returned to the oven to cook the filling through, then the pastry case needs to be firm, set and have a crust, but not cooked all the way through. This usually takes somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes after the weights have been removed.
Some recipes will tell you to prick the pastry case all over with a fork before baking blind; this is called “docking” and there are different theories as to whether or not it’s effective. We think it doesn’t make too much difference to pastry cases. Usually blind-baking will do the job.
Can I reuse the beans?
Let the beans or dried peas cool completely – spread them out on a tray to do this quickly – then keep them in an airtight container for as long as you like and for as many blind baking re-uses as you like. You can’t cook them or eat them, though. Trust us on that one.