Experienced bakers know that having the right equipment is almost as important as the right recipe and ingredients. But more specialized items may not always be available when you're outside your normal kitchen, including underrated (but important) cooking tools like pie weights. Luckily, a low-cost replacement may already be sitting in the kitchen cabinets.
Pouring uncooked white rice into a pie crust before blind baking can provide many of the same benefits as traditional pie weights. You don't need much, just enough to completely cover the parchment paper over the bottom of the crust, which even near-empty pantries usually have. After baking, you can safely discard the rice or set it aside to be reused on future crusts.
Not weighing down your crust is perhaps the biggest blind-baking mistake you can make. Much like actual pie weights, rice can provide evenly distributed pressure across the crust to prevent it from shrinking or puffing up. It will also prevent the crust from slipping down the sides, producing an overall better product than pies made without weights.
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Rice Isn't The Only Pie-Weight Solution
Novice bakers may be surprised to learn blind baking is even necessary. Still, bakers aiming for the best pies know this process is vital for avoiding a soggy crust when wet ingredients are later added, and it ensures even browning. In addition, blind baking is a necessary step when the final fillings won't be cooked, like in fresh fruit or pudding-based pies.
While rice may be the easiest hack for keeping your crust from shrinking in the absence of pie weights, it's certainly not the only one. Other bakers use items like dried beans, unpopped popcorn kernels, granulated sugar, or even coins. Anything small and relatively heavy for its size that can be evenly distributed may work in a pinch, though it's crucial to avoid heat-sensitive materials that could burn, melt, or explode.
Keep this emergency baking substitution in mind before your next pie-making session and see the amazingly convenient results.
Read the original article on Mashed.