Slice, dice and serve these lush but light snacks for summer, then catch up on blind baking 101 for superior sturdy crusts every time.
No one likes a “soggy bottom”, so it’s best to blind bake your unfilled shortcrust pastry shell. Why bother? It guarantees a crisp, cooked pastry crust that can support the weight of the filling.
Partial blind baking adds support to the tart, which is then filled and returned to the oven. Full blind baking takes this one step further, and fillings only go into a cooked and cooled tart shell.
To prevent the pastry from rising, its key to weigh it down with ceramic baking beans – or just the real thing (more on that later)! Before lining your tin with pastry, make sure your dough has rested long enough and try to work with it as little when lining.
Also read: Meat-free mushroom pie with sesame pastry
To blind bake
- Line your tin with pastry, making sure to leave a small overhang of dough. This allows for shrinking without an uneven crust height.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then use a fork to dock (or prick) the pastry base. This is so that steam can escape to evenly cook the pastry. Use a serrated knife to remove excess pastry on the sides.
- Cut a piece of baking paper a few centimetres larger than your tin and place on top of the pastry.
- Spread weights over the paper: enough to keep the pastry from puffing up and cracking during baking (see ideas for DIY weights on the right).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, remove weights and paper, and bake uncovered for another 5-10 minutes (or according to your recipe) to finish cooking.
DIY Pastry weights
Baking stores sell ceramic baking beans called “pie weights”, but these aren’t totally necessary because you most likely already have the perfect weights in your pantry! Any of the following can be used, cooled and added back to its container for cooking later:
- Dried beans
- Uncooked samp
- Dry rice
- Dry lentils
- Popcorn kernels if you’re in a pinch (but expect some cleaning up from this!)
- A smaller tin that fits inside the tart.
Words: Sjaan van der Ploeg
Photography: Fresh Living Magazine, Getty, Zhann Solomons
Also read: Pastry-wrapped camembert with grilled plums