If you are a fan of the British Bake Off, you’ll know all about a ‘soggy bottom’ in pastry-making, and just why you want to avoid it. Here are our tips including using old coins instead of baking beans to blind-bake the pastry.
One way to ensure that your pastry doesn’t get soggy is to blind-bake it, that is to line the pastry with baking parchment, fill it with ceramic baking beans or dried rice or pulses, and bake the pastry for a while to ‘set it’ before adding the filling.
If you use ceramic beans or actual beans or rice, that will work but even then, you can find that your pastry is not as ‘set’ as you would like it when you remove it from the oven. That’s because the beans stop the pastry rising in the oven but they are not great conductors of heat.
Instead of using baking beans, why not use metal coins instead of ceramic baking beans? They are heavy enough to stop the pastry rising, and at the same time, they conduct heat more efficiently so you can be sure the heat reaches the pastry through the tin foil.
You can use loose change or better still, old coins that are out of circulation. Make sure to wash them in soapy water first and dry them well. Always place the coins on top of a tin foil or parchment layer so that the pastry never touches the coins.
Keep the coins in a tub with a lid just for baking (don’t use them to play poker with the kids for example or you will have to wash them all over again) and you will always have them ready to use when you make pastry.
What does ‘inhibiting the pastry’ mean?
You can also use a technique called ‘inhibiting the pastry’ when blind baking. Instead of using baking beans or coins, bake the empty pastry case for 15-20 minutes, remove it from the oven and use a clean tea towel to press on the pastry base to gently push it back down. Finish cooking as per your recipe. When you use this method, you need to make sure that the edge of the pastry comes up over the edge of the baking tin or the pastry can collapse.
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