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Any of a variety of cooking weights that can be used to keep a pie, tart, or pastry crust from bubbling up, curling and shrinking when blind baking the crust. Blind baking (baking the crust without adding the ingredients), can be nicely accomplished by adding some type of loosely arranged weights to the bottom of the crust, which are removed approximately 5 minutes or sooner (depending on the recipe) before the baking time is completed. The weights can be rice, beans, ceramic balls, or linked steel beads that are spread evenly around the bottom of the crust to keep it from shrinking, bubbling, or rising up while it bakes. Typically, the pastry crust is pricked with a fork and then lined with aluminum foil or wax paper, after which 1 to 2 cups of weights are placed over and around the foil or paper lining, allowing for ease of placement and removal just before the baking is finished. If rice or beans are added for weight, they should not be used repeatedly as they can easily burn or become somewhat musty with repeated use. Any of the weights can be easily washed by hand or in a colander when finished.
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