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How to "Blind Bake" a Pie Crust

...and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes to one hour. I like to freeze my pie shell before baking because it seems to give it that extra non-shrinkage insurance...every little trick helps when it comes to the elusive un-shrinkable crust!!

Remove pie crust from the freezer and replace the plastic wrap with a piece of parchment paper.

Next, you will want to "weigh" your crust down (this keeps the crust in place, which helps with the ole shrinkage!)...some people don't weigh down their crust if they have "docked" the shell, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry!). You can use "pie weights" available at most kitchen stores or you can simply use dried beans.

Fill the shell with beans or pie weights and place in your preheated, 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking for about 10-15 minutes longer or until the crimped edges are golden brown.

Remove shell from the oven, then gather up the corners of parchment paper to remove the beans...let the beans cool before storing them in a Ziploc bag (you can keep these beans in your cupboard to reuse for another pie making day!). The edges of your pie shell will be golden brown but the bottom of the crust will still look slightly under baked...put the pie shell back into the oven for about 3-4 more minutes...

...watching carefully that the bottom does not brown too much (as I did!...clearly I wasn't watching carefully!)...oh well, nobody appreciates a "goody-two-shoes" in the kitchen! Place the (over baked) pie crust on a wire rack to cool before adding the filling. Sounds like a lot of steps, but there is nothing more rewarding than conquering the art of blind baking...okay, I'm sure participating in an Ironman triathlon or completing the Navy Seals training program is more rewarding but you have to admit, ain't nobody got time for a shrunken pie shell!

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