To prevent any puff pastry shell getting soggy when baking a quiche, try blind baking the pastry before filling it with ingredients. Blind baking also prevents random shrinkage and bubbling. This technique is equally effective when preparing pastry shells for any kind of dessert pie, tarts filled with uncooked fruit, and even the lower shell of pot pies.
Preparing the Puff Pastry
Blind baking entails weighing down the pastry shell and baking it until the pastry is fully dried but not at all browned. Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a well-chilled pastry shell with parchment paper or foil, making sure to gently press the parchment or foil into the pastry's fluted edge.
Pie Weights and Alternatives
Half fill the pastry shell with pie weights. These are nothing more than ceramic balls roughly the size of small marbles. You can also used any type of uncooked beans or handfuls of clean, loose coins. Some cooking supply companies sell pie weight disks especially constructed for blind baking pies and tart shells.
Watch the Crust
Bake the pastry shell for 10 to 15 minutes or until it is completely dry. Depending on the humidity level, how chilled your pastry shell is to begin with, the hotness of your oven and many other factors, your puff pastry might not dry completely after 10 to 15 minutes in a 400 F oven. Test for dryness by pulling up a corner of the foil or parchment. If the foil or parchment sticks to the dough, return the weighted-down pastry shell to the oven. Check it again every two minutes.
Finishing the Crust
Remove the pie weights and the foil or parchment. Most recipes call for baking the shell an additional five to 10 minutes or until it's partially or fully baked, respectively. Because quiche filling typically requires 20 minutes in a 325 F oven, or just until the custard sets, it's better to fully pre-bake the pastry shell. Cool the crust for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before adding the quiche filling or the eggs could curdle.
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