You’re using pie weights all wrong. Here’s how you can actually do it.

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While par-bake and blind-bake pie crusts are different things — the former is a partial bake and the latter a full bake – both feel like magic tricks gone wrong. A long, perfectly shrunken dough goes in the oven, and a shrunken dough comes out something that barely reaches the top of the pan. What happened?

It’s easy to assume that the problem is with the dough itself – maybe it was rolled too thin or didn’t sit long enough. And while either could being true, the more likely culprit is actually much easier to fix for: You are not using enough pie weights!

As she walks us through her Cardamom Crème Brûlée Pie — which she says is already one of the most popular recipes from her book, The book about cake — she revealed that what many people assume is a shrunken crust is really just a collapsed crust caused by underweight.

Here’s how to use pie weights correctly.

Using pie weights for a better pie crust?

According to Erin, the job of pie weights is twofold: to weigh down the bottom of the crust and to support the sides. Don’t be fooled by the small pie weight containers sold in stores – every time you bake a pie, you have to fill the pie plate all the way to the top border with weights. This rule applies regardless of the type of pie weight you use, from dried beans to sugar to ceramic weights.

When should you pair and blind bake a pie crust?

Any time you bake a pie with a wet filling, Erin says you want to go for par bakes to give the pie crust a head start on getting crispy or it won’t bake enough in the time it takes to bake the custard. Blind baking is used when the filling is cold set (or never put in the oven), such as lemon curd.

You know your pie is pre-baked when it looks firm, not doughy, and you can easily turn it and remove it from the pan. If the dough sticks to the bottom of the pan, it means it’s soggy and needs more time. Erin’s rule of thumb is to bake the crust at 425°F for 12 to 15 minutes with the weights on, then another three to four minutes without the weights.

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