But then, what's new? I'm always in the mood for pie. It was Jennifer Jo's post today over at Mama's Minutia that got me thinking about a post I wrote a couple of months ago and then (apparently) forgot about.
When I first started pie baking, I had a terrible (TERRIBLE!) time baking an empty pie shell. You know, when you make a pie like Lemon Meringue or Banana Cream or an ice cream pie or one that requires the filling to be cooked separately and then poured into a baked pie shell?
My shells would always either form a huge bubble in the middle resembling Mount Vesuvius or the sides would crumple and fall down to the bottom of the pie plate. But I finally read enough tips on how to keep mishaps like that from happening and I no longer have to bake two or three or more shells to get one that is presentable.
Here's a sure-fire way of making a perfect baked empty pie shell.
Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place one of your oven racks in the lower third of the oven.
Prepare your single crust and place it in a pie plate. (I've found that a glass pie plate is best as opposed to a metal one. Don't know why, but I've had this proven over and over.) When you crimp the edge, make sure your crimping comes up over the top lip of the pie plate and kind of "hangs on." Next take a table fork and prick the bottom and sides of the crust. This enables any steam to escape and keeps the crust from bubbling up.
Then take a piece of foil and place it shiny side down over the prepared crust molding the foil flat across the bottom and up the sides of the crust.
Take about two cups of any dried bean and spread them evenly over the foil on the crust in the bottom of the plate. (I have been using the same two cups of baby lima beans for y-e-a-r-s now.)
Place prepared crust (with foil and beans) in oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and lift off the foil with beans in it.
Turn your oven down to 375 degrees, place pie crust in plate back in the oven (without foil and beans) and continue baking about 10 minutes more or until the pastry looks golden brown. (Often times the bottom of the crust will start to get too brown before the sides so watch carefully.)
Remove pie plate from oven and cool on a wire rack and proceed with filling of your choice. Banana Cream sounds good to me right now. How 'bout you?