Blind Baking–No Blindfolds Necessary!

November 8, 2010

When I first heard that we would be blind baking, I had this vivid image of putting on a blindfold, fumbling around the kitchen in search of a rolling pin, and praying not to burn myself while precariously placing the pie plate in the 450º oven…

You probably should NOT bake like this...

Thankfully, the name “blind baking” is a misnomer.  Instead of baking without the key sense called vision, blind baking actually translates to “baking a pie without the filling” for those non-baking speakers.

Note: no filling in the pie crust!

Last week we made crusts using both shortening and butter.  In fact, shortening gives the crust a good texture, and butter gives the crust a delicious taste.  So to get the best of both worlds, we had already done the shortening-butter combo to get the perfect looking and tasting crust. This week we opted to make an all butter crust to maximize the delectable flavor.  I have no complaints—the crust still looked pretty, and shall surely taste even better.

In order to craft this tasty crust, we pulsed two cups of flour and one teaspoon of salt together for ten seconds.  We then added the butter and pulsed ten times individually, and finally we added the water.  When you add the water, a magical thing happens (this is my favorite part…): the mixture combines into dough.  In the high school curriculum, all four grades are studying the importance and the powers of water—and turning a floury mixture into sticky dough is definitely one of them.  Just sayin’.

The mixture magically turning into dough with the help of a little H2O

Considering the fact that we all are now crust-experts, we easily floured, rolled, and flipped the dough until it was a circular shape two-inches wider than the pie plate.  Now it was “Dough Meet Pie-Plate” time.  I personally believe that transporting the dough from the parchment paper to the pie plate with the help of the rolling pin is the most challenging aspect of crust-baking–but if you have magical powers that allow you to move the dough with a flick of your wand, all the power to you.

Seltzer Sayre Expressing Her Jealousy of Soy-Sauce Sawyer's Transporting Skills

After we placed and crimped the dough, we were ready to prepare for the blind-baking phenomenon.   We carefully covered the crust with a piece of the much-loved parchment paper, and then did something that I never imagined we would do.  We put BEANS in our pie. Skeptical onlookers from the photography class wondered who in the world would eat a dried-out pinto bean pie.  I sure wouldn’t.  However, despite what the non-bakers may have thought, we were actually using the beans to weigh down the parchment paper. Since we were baking with no filling, we had to put something in the piecrust to hold it down so that it wouldn’t bake into a weird shape.

Do not eat the beans!

By the time we put the crust filled with pinto beans (delicious sounding, I know) in the oven, it was almost time to pack up and head to our next class. But I couldn’t help thinking of all the different things we could place in the piecrust after it came out of the oven.  We could freeze it and save it, put a chicken-pot-pie filling in it, re-bake it with the strawberry filing that we made, or even fill it with chocolate mousse.  My vote is for the chocolate mousse. But just think—the possibilities of mouth-watering treats to make with a blind-baked crust are endless!

-Seltzer Sayre

Too many cooks in the kitchen? Nahhhh...


2 Responses to “Blind Baking–No Blindfolds Necessary!”

  1. Love the photo of mischievous Seltzer Sayre!

  2. I personally like the bit on water integration. You’re a true lifelong learner, Seltzer Sayre!

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