Baking blind is a term used to mean prebaking a pie or tart shell before filling it with something. Generally it’s a technique used for fresh-fruit tarts or anything filled with liquid, like a custard. It’s an essential — but very simple — technique.
Before baking, always chill your dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The colder you can keep your butter used in the recipe, the richer and flakier your crust will be. If you’re making a large tart or pie, roll your dough into a ball and flatten it into a thick disk, and chill like that. If you’re making mini tart shells, first roll your dough into a cylinder to chill, and slice into equal shares before rolling each separately.
Begin by rolling your dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and rub some onto your rolling pin so nothing sticks. Roll outwards, away from you, and flip your dough over and spin it around every once in a while, while re-flouring. This is to avoid the dough melting the flour on your surface and gluing to it. It’s so frustrating when you spend the time to make a perfect pastry and it just gets stuck to the dang table!
Gently lift the pastry onto the tart dish. An easier way to do this is to fold the pastry in half and re-open it carefully once you place it in the dish. Gently press everything into the pan. Don’t sweat it if you have some cracks — paste it back together with some more dough. You’re filling the shell after all, nobody’s going to know.
Optional: Pinch a fluted shape into the edges of the shell using your fingers.
You need to weigh the pastry down with something while you prebake it, or else it’s going to bubble and warp and bake poorly. Cover the shell with parchment paper or tin foil, and weigh everything down with rice, dried beans, or pie weights. You can’t eat the rice or beans after baking them, so keep them in a mason jar labelled “pie weights” to use in the future and not waste food.
Into the oven at 400F for 15 minutes, or until the crust is a pale yellow, and the edges start to brown.
Take the shell out of the oven and brush it with a wash made out of one beaten egg. This seals the crust for liquid filling, and is just a good habit to get into.
Bake for 5 minutes more, and then you’re good to go! Easy-peasy!