Pie weights are small heavy weights – usually ceramic balls, rice or beans – that are used to weigh down a pie crust during blind baking. The weights help to prevent the crust from shrinking and hold it flat against the pan so that you get a nice, even pie crust to fill with the filling of your choice. The problem with pie weights is that they can be messy (when you’re using something like rice or beans, which can easily spill) and they can even stick to the pie dough, tearing your crust if you’re not careful. But pie weights are a must for blind baking, so pie-bakers just get used to using them.
The Chicago Metallic Ventilated Pie Weight presents an alternative to traditional pie weights that is much easier to use. The metal and silicone disc looks like a giant flower, with petals of silicone coming off the center metal disc. The metal portion of the pan is heavy, with enough weight to hold down the bottom of a pie crust, and has many perforations to encourage browning to prevent a soggy bottom crust. All of the flexible petals fold back when the weight is in place, pressing gently against the sides of the crust to hold them in place, as well. The flexible petals mean that this will fit a variety of pan sizes, from 9-11-inches, and it is also dishwasher safe. It is definitely easier to use than traditional pie weights, and that is a bonus for anyone who bakes a lot of pies.