The crust is the foundation of most pie recipes and many of those recipes call for the crusts to be blind baked. Blind baking is when you partially bake (or sometimes fully bake) the crust before adding the filling, which helps ensure that the finished pie and crust combination will both be completely cooked through.
Most pastry doughs have layers of butter or other fats that are intended to make the baked pastries tender and flaky. They also tend to puff up during baking if they aren’t weighed down – so bakers tend to use pie weights to keep the crust in place while its in the oven. You can buy pie weights at most baking stores, but dried beans are a commonly recommended substitute. But what if you don’t have beans to use as pie weights? Learn how to use rice as a pie weight instead!
Rice is extremely easy to use as a pie weight and it is my go-to when it comes to baking pie crusts. You will need 1-2 cups of uncooked rice to weight down your pastry for an average 9-inch pie. To use the rice as a pie weight, roll out your pie crust and shape it into your pie dish. Gently press a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the unbaked crust, then fill the foil with the uncooked rice. Bake the crust as directed by your recipe.
When the crust is baked – either partially or fully – lift out the aluminum foil and pour the uncooked rice into a plastic bag or small storage container to use for the next time. You can use parchment paper in place of foil, but the foil is a bit easier to press into the corners of the pie and will often give you better coverage. There is no need to grease the foil, since there is plenty of butter or other fat in your pastry crust already.
Rice works beautifully here for a few reasons. First, even more people have rice on hand than uncooked beans. Second, the rice really fills the pie crusts evenly, getting into small corners where beans and other pie weights find it difficult to fit. Finally. uncooked rice has very little moisture, so it doesn’t change shape and cools down easily after baking.