How to Use Rice as a Pie Weight

How to Use Rice as a Pie Weight

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 …

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How to Use Rice as a Pie Weight

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!

How to Use Rice as a Pie Weight

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.

How to Use Rice as a Pie Weight

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.

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Double Crust Pear Pie

Double Crust Pear Pie
Apple pie and pumpkin pie are staples in the fall, but they’re not the only fruit pies worth putting on your dessert table! This Double Crust Pear Pie takes advantage of in-season pears and showcases them in this lovely double crust pie as an alternative to – or an addition to! – your …

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Double Crust Pear Pie
Apple pie and pumpkin pie are staples in the fall, but they’re not the only fruit pies worth putting on your dessert table! This Double Crust Pear Pie takes advantage of in-season pears and showcases them in this lovely double crust pie as an alternative to – or an addition to! – your usual holiday pie line up.

The filling for this pie calls for a lot of pears. Pears are absolutely delicious and underappreciated when it comes to baked goods. Many of us eat pears as-is or serve them as part of a cheese platter or salad. But they make a fantastic addition to baked goods of all kinds!

I like the honeyed sweetness of Bartlett pears, which maintain a nice texture after baking. D’anjou pears can also be used, but they tend to be a bit smaller, so you may need more of them. There are many varieties of pears out there – which you may not see at a grocery store, but will definitely see at farmers markets in your area – and you can always experiment with different types, as long as they are crisp and not mealy. Regardless of what type of pear you work with, you need to select pears that are just barely ripe for best results in this recipe. Not only are they easier to handle and peel, but they hold their shape well when baking.

I added sugar, allspice, vanilla and a bit of salt to the filling. Allspice is a wonderful flavor to pair with pears, though cinnamon and nutmeg could also be nice additions. I added little bit of cornstarch to the filling and, while you could get away with not using it, I recommend it because pears can give off a lot of juice while they are baking and you don’t want your pie crust to get soggy.

I used an all butter crust that I made in the food processor. You can always cut the butter in by hand, but the food processor makes the process quick and easy, and I love being able to take advantage of the time savings when I can. The crust can be made up to two days ahead of time, if you want to work ahead, too.

The pie needs to cool completely before slicing so that the juices have a chance to thicken up and redistribute themselves in the fruit. The crust should be deeply browned and the pears should be tender. Serve as-is, or slightly warmed up with a scoop of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream on the side.

Double Crust Pear Pie
All-Butter Crust
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, cold and cut into chunks
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6-8 tbsp cold water

Filling
2 1/2 lbs firm Bartlett pears (5-8, depending on size).
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp heavy cream, for topping

Make the Crust
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add in butter and pulse until it is broken into chunks about the size of a pecan or large almond. Drizzle in the water while pulsing the machine until a shaggy dough starts to come together. If dough is too dry to form a ball, add additional 1-2 tbsp of water.
Shape dough into two balls and flatten balls into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Make and Bake the Filling
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the pie dough until it is large enough to fill a 9-inch pie plate (place plate over rolled-out crust; it is large enough if you have about 2-inches extra all the way around). Transfer crust to pie plate and press into place, leaving extra dough hanging over the sides. Chill for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 425F.
Peel the pears, then cut them lengthwise and remove the cores with a melon baller. Cut each half into four slices and place in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, allspice, vanilla and cornstarch to the bowl and toss to combine. Let pears sit while you roll out top crust.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining pie of pie dough until it is large enough to cover the top of the pie. Use a decorative cookie cutter to cut vents in the top of the pie, or simply make 5-7 slits on the top with a knife.
Fill crust base with pears, arranging them as evenly as possible.
Brush overhanging pastry of the bottom crust with a little heavy cream. Place top crust on top of the pears, pressing where the cream is to seal the pastry. Cut off excess with a knife and flute the edge. Brush top crust with remaining cream.
Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, then turn heat down to 375F (without opening the oven door) and bake for an additional 50-65 minutes, or until the juices from the pie are bubbling thickly through the vents. Allow pie to cool completely before slicing.

Serves 8-10.

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10 Thanksgiving Apple Recipes You’ll Want To Try

Buttermilk Apple Cobbler Bars

Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates food and there are some flavors that are a bit more prominent than others. Turkey is a staple, of course, but I’m actually talking about pumpkins and apples! Pumpkin pie is a classic that should always be included, but you can get creative with apples! Here …

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Buttermilk Apple Cobbler Bars

Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates food and there are some flavors that are a bit more prominent than others. Turkey is a staple, of course, but I’m actually talking about pumpkins and apples! Pumpkin pie is a classic that should always be included, but you can get creative with apples! Here are 10 Thanksgiving Apple Recipes You’ll Want To Try this year. Let me know how many you make it through at your Thanksgiving!

These Buttermilk Apple Cobbler Bars deliver all the same flavors you’ll find in classic apple pie, in an easy to make and easy to transport form that make them the ideal dessert when you’re baking it to take on the road to dinner at someone else’s home!

You can never go wrong with classic apple pie, though, and this Cinnamon Apple Pie with Crumb Topping is one of my all time most popular apple recipes. The pie is just bursting with fresh apples and is finished with a crumb topping that is sweet, crunchy and downright addictive. Serve it with ice cream or whipped cream, slightly warm to set off all the delicious spices inside!

Apple Cider Pie

Apple Cider Pie is a custard-like pie that has the feel of a pumpkin pie, but is actually made with apple cider and buttermilk. It is an easy to make pie that really delivers on apple cider flavor, along with a tangy richness from the buttermilk it is paired with. The texture of the filling is velvety, and a great contrast for buttery pie pastry. It’s a surprising pie that is always a hit at any fall gathering. Did I mention that it is easy to make, too?

Another great use for apple cider is in my Homemade Apple Cider Butter. This slow-cooked fruit preserve is made with whole apples and apple cider, which are sweetened and cooked down into a spreadable fruit butter that is bursting with apple cider flavor. Serve it with dinner rolls or scones – or just eat it with a spoon!

Brown Sugar Apple Cupcakes with Candied Ginger

Speaking of cake, cupcakes are always a welcome addition to a dessert table! Brown Sugar Apple Cupcakes with Candied Ginger are simple to make and loaded with holiday flavors. The warmly spiced cupcakes are packed with both diced apple and finely chopped candied ginger. They’re finished with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and garnished with more ginger.

This Bourbon Brown Butter Apple Cake has enough bourbon to put a very adult twist on Thanksgiving dessert. It’s a simple and rustic cake that uses a pound of apples – delivering all the fruit a pie lover could hope for, but in a delicious cake format. This is the perfect dessert for someone who likes to keep the presentation simple, but still wants to impress with flavor!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Pecan Apple Cranberry Crisp

Need something gluten free for the dessert table? My Gluten Free Oatmeal Pecan Apple Cranberry Crisp is a colorful and flavorful holiday dessert that everyone will enjoy. Sweet apples and tart, whole cranberries compliment each other perfectly beneath a crunchy pecan crisp topping. Serve the crisp while it is still slightly warm from the oven – or simply reheat before serving alongside some vanilla ice cream.

Apple & Pecan Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel

Don’t forget that apple bakes aren’t just for dessert! This Apple & Pecan Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel makes a wonderful addition to a fall or holiday brunch. It is packed with tender apples and crunchy pecans, all tied together with a buttery spiced streusel.

Because I don’t want to leave you without any savory items on our list, this Cranberry, Apple and Sage Stuffing deserves a spot alongside the turkey on your holiday table. It’s an old picture on the post because I’ve been making variations of this stuffing for more than a DECADE and it’s still a huge hit. Savory sage, bright cranberries and juicy apples blend together seamlessly in this addictive side dish.

Martinelli's Apple Cider Mule

And last, but not least, don’t forget the drinks! This Apple Cider Mule is a seasonal twist on a Moscow mule, made with ginger beer and apple cider. This cocktail that can be made with alcohol – I used bourbon because it goes so well with apples – or as a nonalcoholic version simply by replacing the bourbon with a bit more apple cider.

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Double Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies

Double Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies

The next time that you’re in the mood for a very chocolatey cookie, look no further than this recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies. These cookies have a intensely chocolate base that is studded generously with chunks of chocolate and toasted pecans. The result is a rich cookie that delivers a  …

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Double Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies

The next time that you’re in the mood for a very chocolatey cookie, look no further than this recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies. These cookies have a intensely chocolate base that is studded generously with chunks of chocolate and toasted pecans. The result is a rich cookie that delivers a double dose of chocolate in every bite, plus a nutty crunch that is the perfect contrast to the tender cookie.

The dough for these cookies is made with quite a lot of cocoa powder, which gives them an intense and bittersweet flavor. While it might seem like there is a lot of sugar in the dough, keep in mind that all that cocoa powder is unsweetened, so you need a fair amount of sugar to balance it out. The finished cookies will not be too sweet – in fact, you’ll still have a wonderfully intense cocoa flavor.

The dough is quite thick, so you’ll need a little muscle to stir in the mix-ins, though the cookies spread quite a bit when they bake. This recipe makes a fairly large batch of cookies, which is great when you need cookies for a party or an event. They keep well when stored in an airtight container and can even be frozen for later snacking. That being said, you can halve the recipe if you need a smaller batch.

For the best results, I recommend chilling the dough overnight (or for 24 hours) before baking it. That resting time really helps ensure that the cookies bake uniformly and, while they will still spread nicely, they will spread slightly less than freshly mixed dough. A few unofficial taste tests also suggested that the cookies taste more chocolatey when the dough is rested, but I would have to draft a few more tasters before I can state that as a fact. The cookies are very tender, with a soft chewiness that is very satisfying.

I finished these cookies by sprinkling them with a pinch of coarse salt before going into the oven, which brings out the rich chocolate in the dough when the cookies are finished. You can get the same effect by using salted pecans, instead of plain, as your mix-in. If you don’t have pecans, walnuts work extremely well in these cookies, too.

Double Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chunks
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
coarse salt, for topping

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, followed by milk and vanilla extract. Gradually, with the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour mixture, stopping when no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in chocolate chunks and pecans.
Cover bowl and refrigerate dough for 12-24 hours.*
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a bit of coarse salt.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set around the edges
Cool for 4-5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen

*Note: You can bake this dough right away, but the cookies may spread slightly more. They will still be tasty and the baking time will be about the same.

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Orange Pecan Chess Pie

Orange Pecan Chess Pie
Chess pie is an easy to make custard pie that is a Southern classic and a favorite in my home. Not only is the pie delicious, but it happens to be exceptionally easy to make. For me, that means I can whip one up on relatively short notice and easily play around with …

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Orange Pecan Chess Pie
Chess pie is an easy to make custard pie that is a Southern classic and a favorite in my home. Not only is the pie delicious, but it happens to be exceptionally easy to make. For me, that means I can whip one up on relatively short notice and easily play around with different flavors in my pies. This particular pie is an Orange Pecan Chess Pie, a variation on both a chess pie and a pecan pie that I think is a wonderful holiday dessert.

The filling of this pie is made with sugar, eggs, cornmeal and milk, with both vanilla extract and fresh orange zest added in for flavor. The cornmeal may seem like an unexpected ingredient in a pie filling, but it helps to thicken up the custard and gives the filling a little bit of extra body. The orange zest is the star of the custard because the fresh zest – and you’ll only need the zest from 1 whole orange – brings a bright, citrus flavor to the pie and really pairs exceptionally well with the pecans. Orange extract is not a good substitute here, so be sure to use a fresh orange!

The pecans are stirred into the filling after the other ingredients have been mixed together. I use roasted and salted pecans, which contrast well with the sweet filling and bring a fantastic crunch to the topping of the pie as it caramelizes in the oven. Whole pecans will give your pie the best finished look, however you can use coarsely chopped pecans instead if that is what you have on hand.

The amount of nuts in this pie is very generous and, while they mostly float to the surface while the pie is in the oven, you’ll find the odd nut gets trapped in the filling for a surprise crunch when you are serving. Not a bad surprise if you like a nutty dessert!

The pie is creamy, crunchy, sweet and nutty. You can taste the orange, vanilla and pecans in every bite and it is so good that you may never want to go back to a traditional pecan pie! This pie is best served slightly chilled and it can be made a day ahead of when you plan to serve it. Use a serrated knife to cut through the pie before serving to get neat slices.

Orange Pecan Chess Pie
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup milk (any kind)
1 1/2 cups whole or coarsely chopped toasted pecans (pref. toasted and salted)
prebaked 9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, egg yolk, cornmeal, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest. Whisk in the melted butter, followed by the milk, until ingredients are well-combined. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into prebaked 9-inch pie crust.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pie is set and jiggles only very slightly when the pan is tapped. Allow pie to cool to room temperature. Pie can be served at room temperature or refrigerated before serving.

Serves 8-10.

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