Baking beans are used to add weight to pastry crusts for blind baking. But just what is baking beans? What is blind baking? And what can you substitute baking beans with during blind baking? Find all the answers here!
Mastering the art of blind baking is key to a flaky pie crust. To understand what blind baking is, it is basically having to bake a tart or pie crust partially or completely before it is filled with something. Is also known as pre-baking.
There are reasons as to why pastry cooks blind bake. Normally, a tart or pie filling takes up less time to cook rather than the crust itself. Another reason would be that making cream pies or fruit pies, the creamed and fruit filling is not always necessarily baked, but the crust still has to be cooked. Speaking of making fruit pies too, blind baking helps to prevent a soggy bottom crust so everyone can enjoy a lovely buttery and flaky crust.
When pastry cooks blind bake, they would usually line the pie crust with parchment paper. It is then filled with either uncooked beans or rice, and then popped into the oven. Only after the baking, the beans and rice are taken out. The intended filling is then filled into the pie or tart crust.
About Baking Beans
Now that you know baking blind is used in many tart and pie recipes to provide a crisp and perfectly cooked pastry case, we can finally talk about the baking beans! If this is your first-time hearing about them, that is all right.
Most people do not really know what baking beans are, let alone hear about it. Some imagine baking beans to put some weight on the dough, but no one really knows what exactly they are. Since baking blind includes lining the raw pastry case with either a parchment paper of foil, then filling it with weights, that is where the baking beans come in.
While these baking beans are no magic beans, they are useful little balls made from heat conducting ceramic. They feel quite nice too in your hands (Word of caution, don’t leave them around toddlers as they are small and are not safe to be consumed). Other than that, not only do they help weigh down the pastry, but they also help to bake the pastry from the top too. They are important as they help to keep the pastry in its shape as it cooks. Without the baking beans, what could possibly arise is the pastry on the base will puff up and its sides can collapse inward (yikes).
But are they actually something you need? For one thing, they are also reusable. All you have to do is line your pastry with baking paper, and fill it with the baking beans and set aside your pastry for baking. Once your pastry is done baking, simply take them out from the tart or pie crust. Allow them to cool off before placing them back into the container. Then again, some of us do not bake often and feel that it may not be necessary to invest in baking beans…
So, what if you do not have Baking Beans?
Then you simply do not have baking beans! Yet that does not mean there are no alternatives for you. In fact, we know what can you substitute baking beans with during blind baking.
Everyone has sugar as a staple in their pantry. And should you be low on dried products, you can always fill your pastry crust with some sugar to give it additional weight. One added benefit of using sugar is that, because it is naturally fine on its own, it simply fills up every single bit of your crust leaving no room unfilled! And hey, making use of this baking beans substitute, you can get an even pastry that looks like it came from a bakery! And after some baking rounds, maybe you can consider adding the leftover toasted sugar for something else.
Use Dried Foods
If you rather not use your sugar, there are plenty of dried foods that make a great alternative for the baking beans. They too, do have the potential to give your tarts and pies an edge. Here is a list of dried foods that you can opt for:
There is no specific brand of rice or type of rice you should use. After all, their purpose is to give weight to your crust. So, get yourself an economical bag of rice that do not cost much. This budget-friendly option helps you achieve a lovely cooked crust without you having to break your bank account. Top-quality crusts need not be expensive at all!
Although, there is also something you should know. Try not to use rice for bigger tarts as it is so fine that it may insulate your pastry from the heat you are trying to add to it.
Lentils and Chickpeas
While lentils make a great hearty lentil soup for a chilly weather, it is also another great substitute for blind baking. You can also use chickpeas too. While larger than the small lentils, that only means you get to use less chickpeas compared to the lentils. Whichever you use to fill the crust, you will still achieve the same result for blind baking. So, it is personal preference! You can let your dinner option decide whether you should go for lentils or chickpeas.
In the end...
While baking beans help to get the job done in blind baking as blind baking is important for custard pies, fruit pies, quiche, and so on as weights, we know there are other heroes that can get it done right too. Most importantly, is that you remember to cover your pastry crust thoroughly with parchment paper or foil—no matter which substitute you go for. Think you have other suggestions to weigh down your crusts? Share your thoughts with us!
More about us and baking.
Rich Products Malaysia is a subsidiary of the global Rich Products group headquartered in Buffalo, New York, USA, and is a pioneer and leader in the non-sourced frozen food industry.
As a market leader, with a reputation for over 35 years in the Malaysian market and more than 75 years in the world, Rich’s has been satisfying customers with high-quality products and applications, outstanding formulas and are considered a keen group sharing innovative ideas and products of international standard in Malaysia and around the world.
With the aim of developing customers and expecting the Malaysian food industry to reach new heights, we are constantly creating high-quality ideas, recipes, and products that bring satisfaction and absolute heart for you!