Pie weights are a type of tool that bakers use to hold down pie crusts while they are blind baking, to ensure that they keep their shape as those flaky layers form in the dough. Pie weights can range from a bunch of ceramic beads to a pile of dried rice or beans (the least expensive pie weight out there), but the hardest part of using pie weights tends to be the cleanup. Those ceramic and metal beads, even if they are attached to a coil of wire, are difficult to clean and dried beans can spill all over the place as you try to wrangle them back into the container you store them in. The Williams Sonoma Pie Weight Disc is an all-in-one tool that makes regular pie weights a thing of the past and is dishwasher safe, too!
This disc is very similar to the Chicago Metallic version that I saw earlier this year. The difference is in the shape of the petals and the presence of a silicone handle in the Williams Sonoma version. The handle makes it very easy to insert the pie weight disc and to press it down firmly into place, giving you peace of mind that your crust is tucked tightly into the corners of your pan. It also makes it very easy to remove it, which is helpful when you only need to partially bake a crust and have to pull out the weight while it is still hot. The petals are rounded so you won’t accidentally gouge your pastry as you push it into place. It will work with any pie pan but it works especially well with the ruffled Emile Henri pan (one of my favorites) as the petals will hold the crust down in the large ruffles that are the signature of this pan design.