Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Foodie Vocabulary: Blind Baking
As we nestle into Fall more and more, and the holiday season inches nearer, baking takes center stage in most kitchens.  And when we're talking crusts (for pies, tarts and the like), it's oh so essential that they be crumbly, crispy, flaky--and well, near perfect.  Without question, it's one of my favorite things about any pie I've ever enjoyed.  And have you ever swooned over a pie with a soggy crust?

So if you take your crust indulgences seriously, too, you'll be glad to know that there's a simple and effective technique that will leave your crusts sitting pretty--and ready for a scrumptious filling every time: blind baking. 

Blind baking is the method of partially, or completely, baking a crust without the filling.  Before the baking begins, the crust is lined with parchment paper, to help prevent puffing and shrinking sides, then weighted down with uncooked rice or dried beans.  (You'll want to gently push the 'weights' up against the sides of the parchment to prevent it from falling.)  Finally, bake off the crust in a hot oven, remove the weights and continue with your recipe instructions.  Sounds easy enough, right?  If you'd still like a bit more instruction on the technique, however, here it is.

Now that you've got it down, you must try your hand at mastering a great crust with the following sweet and savory recipes from Martha Stewart and Marcus Samuelsson; then leave me a comment on this post or drop me a line on my Facebook page telling me your thoughts on this technique and what you have planned on the baking horizon.

Mile-High Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Mussel-Artichoke Tart

Happy Eating!

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