Pie weights -- used to help a crust keep its shape while baking -- get a workout during the holiday season. A layer of cheesecloth keeps them neat and at the ready. For a standard-size pie plate, take 1 pound of dry beans -- pinto, kidney, or black ones -- and wrap loosely in cheesecloth (the beans should be able to spread out to cover the bottom of the pan). Cinch the bundle with kitchen twine. After each use, let the pouch cool and store it in an airtight container. Discard the bundle if the beans develop a musty odor, after about ten uses.


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