Common knowledge says that beans are a great way to blind-bake pie crusts and get them to hold their shape before putting in your filling. That's great, but then you can't eat the beans afterward: they take on a rather unpleasant smell. CHOW suggests using rice instead, which after pre-baking can become a delicious pilaf.
Photo by Kimberly Vardeman.
CHOW points out that the process of baking the beans a few times causes a chemical reaction called pyrolysis, where the sugars and amino acids in the beans start to give off a rather unpleasant smell. They're still edible, they just wouldn't be fun to eat. Instead, line the bottom of the pie crust with parchment paper and pour in some rice. Bake your pie crust, and it'll still hold its shape, but some of the butter from the crust will seep through the paper and get into the rice.
You can then cook the toasted rice into a delicious, buttery rice pilaf, as opposed to pouring mildly smelly beans into a plastic bag for the next time you want to make a pie. Do you use beans for pie crusts, or just buy pre-made? Share your baking tips in the comments below.