Using baking beads or rice when blind baking
Q: How full do I need to fill my pastry case with baking beads or rice when blind baking it?
A: The reason you fill your tart or pie case with baking beads (also known as pastry weights or blind baking beads) or raw rice is that you not only want to weigh down the base of the pastry but also support the sides so that it retains its shape during baking. Essentially, you want to stop the pastry from shrinking and lifting away from the base of the tin.
It is a common misconception that you only need to use a handful of beads or rice (one of my students once told me she uses a ‘scattering’) but unfortunately this is just not enough. You need to use enough to fill the case completely (about 3 cups for a 23cm tart tin which is about two standard-sized packets that they are often sold in).
Don't just use a scattering – fill it right to the top edge of the pastry, and also make sure the sides are well supported by pressing the beads lightly.