When you are baking a fruit pie, the filling usually goes into a pie plate lined with uncooked pie dough and everything bakes together. There are quite a few types of pies out there – including many cream pies – that call for a prebaked pie shell without giving you much instruction on how to get the pie crust baked. Prebaking a pie crust is also known as “blind baking.”
The first thing you’ll need is a piece of pie pastry large enough for a 9-inch pie (recipe here). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to fill a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer the dough to the plate and press into place. Crimp or trim the edges of the dough, then chill for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator to allow the dough to relax (this will help prevent the crust from shrinking as you bake it).
Once the dough has rested, use a fork to lightly prick the bottom of the pastry. Take a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and press it into the pie plate, gently pushing it right up against the pastry. Fill the sheet of foil or parchment paper with pie weights, dried beans or even uncooked rice to hold it in place. This weight helps the pie dough hold its shape.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven and take out the pie weights and the aluminum foil liner.
Lower the oven temperature to 375F. Return the pie to the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before using.
I prefer to have a deep golden brown on my crust. The crust can be baked a day in advance, cooled completely and wrapped with saran wrap for use the next day.
Most prebaked crusts are completely baked and cooked before filling, but there are some recipes that will want you to add filling to a partially baked crust and continue baking it. If this is the case with the recipe you’re working with, simply follow this procedure up until the point where you remove the pie weights from the crust. Rather than returning the crust to the oven to finish baking, you can add the pie filling as directed by your recipe.