Blind baking is the process of baking a pie crust without the filling. Dough can be fragile and collapse if it’s too weighted down. For this reason, some pie crusts and tart shells should be baked before any filling is added. The best and easiest way I’ve found to do this is to line your pie dish with rolled out pastry dough and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake, prick the crust in several spots with a fork, fill it with some pie weights or dried beans, and bake for 15 minutes. Then finish it off in the oven by removing the pie shield and weights, and baking for another few minutes. Let it cool completely before adding your filling. You’ll get the same, perfect results every time- a smooth, flakey, and sweet pie crust.
It is certainly possible to make a dough using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, but in this recipe we are using a food processor. Not only does it save some elbow grease, but it drastically improves the consistency of the dough. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the all purpose flour, salt, sugar, and cut up pieces of cold butter. You’ll need 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Pulse until coarse.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and ice water. With the processor running, add the yolk mixture to the butter and flour until a ball forms.
Remove the dough, shape into a ball, and wrap in plastic. Flatter the ball into a disk and chill for 1 hour. This will help the pie to keep its shape in the oven.
Pushing from the center outwards, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a lightly greased pie dish. One easy way to do this is to roll the dough onto your rolling pin, then roll it out on top of the pie dish. Gently press the dough down along the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Tuck under the edges around the perimeter and crimp the crust into the pattern you’d like. Smooth out any harsh cracks and chill for another 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375. Remove the dough from the fridge and prick the crust all over with a fork. Fill the center with pie weights or dried beans and line the edge with foil or a pie shield.
Bake for 15 minutes, remove the pie shield and weights, and bake another 6 minutes. Cool completely before filling.