When you’re blind baking, one thing you don’t want to forget is your pie weights – otherwise known as baking beans. These essential weights will ensure that pudding pies and fruit tarts come out looking scrumptious, even, and professional.
My name is Michelle, and let me be clear – I love a good pie. But I have also had my fair share of pies that didn’t look so great. During my mission to make the most delectable looking (and tasting) pies and tarts, I ran across the term blind baking, and it changed the way I baked for good.
If you’re trying to make a pie or tart that needs the crust cooked before you add the filling, you need to master blind baking with the help of “baking beans”. But what if you don’t have baking beans on hand? What to use instead of baking beans?
Don’t worry – there are plenty of baking bean (dry beans) substitutes that will help you achieve gorgeous pies and tarts.
Keep reading to find out which substitutes ranked best as baking bean alternatives!
1. Dried Foods
While the most commonly used dried food as a pie weight is beans, other dried foods can bring your meringues and pudding pies to life. Some dried foods to consider include:
- Rice – All types of rice can be used, and a large bag of rice is budget-friendly, so you won’t be breaking the bank to achieve top-notch crusts.
- Popcorn – Another inexpensive option is popcorn kernels. Be careful, though. Sometimes popcorn kernels will pop while your pie bakes!
- Lentils – Lentils are another wonderful baking bean alternative. Plus, you will have quite a bright masterpiece baking in your oven if you use colorful lentils.
- Chickpeas – Larger than the other options, you can use fewer chickpeas while still achieving the same result.
Plus, they are reusable, too. Place the dried foods in a special container and label them as ‘pie weights’. That way, when you’ve got a hankering for rhubarb pie, you can swiftly pull out your pie weights and get to work.
Sugar is a staple in the kitchen. So, if you’re low on dried foods, your next best option is to pour some sugar on your covered pastry. The benefit of using sugar is that it is so fine, it can easily fill up all the nooks and crannies of your crust, leaving no area untouched.
In the end, using sugar can provide a more even pastry that looks like it came straight from a bakery. After a few rounds, consider adding the toasted sugar to another recipe for a caramel-y flavor like no other. Yum!
3. Smaller Pie Form
If you’re really trying to be clever in the kitchen, then whip out a smaller pie form and lay it right on top of your covered pastry. There are clear benefits to using this method, with the biggest pro being that your crust will definitely have the correct shape.
When your pastry is done cooking, pull it out of the oven (using an oven mitt, of course) and bake the crust upside-down. This will ensure that you get a superior-looking pie crust that isn’t prone to shrinkage.
Another benefit is that you can bake a smaller pie right afterward! Who doesn’t want to make two pies in a single day? I would never shy away from such a thing!
4. Commercial Pie Weights
If you are serious about your blind baking, it might be best to invest in some commercial pie weights.
Commercial pie, such as the Harold Import, Mrs. Anderson’s Pie Weights, are designed with food-safe ceramic stoneware that can handle high temperatures. They’re easy to use and are reusable, which is a major plus.
Another commonly bought commercial pie weight is the baking chain, like Hannah’s Baking Baking Pie Crust Weights Chain. They come in various lengths, including 6 ft., 10 ft., and 15 ft., so it’s a cinch to find the size that’s right for you and your delectable pies.
5. Loose Change
Okay, I know what you’re thinking – “Money on my pasty? Gross!” Well, you’re not wrong. Placing loose change directly onto your pastry is not exactly sanitary. But hear me out.
When you are in a jam, and there are no other options available, sometimes you have to make do with what you have. So, bust the piggy bank open and get baking. Just make sure that you line your pie crust with parchment paper or foil so that none of the change touches the crust.
In fact, let’s do a few lines of parchment paper and foil to be on the safe side!
Blind baking is essential for things like custard pies, fruit pies, quiche, pumpkin pies, and pudding pies, and to blind bake correctly, you need weights. While baking beans (dried beans) are most commonly used, there are plenty of options to get the job done.
Just make sure that whichever option you decide on, you cover the pastry thoroughly with parchment paper or foil!
What do you use to weigh down your blind baking crusts?About Michelle