Many recipes call for a fully baked or partially baked pie crust. A baked pie crust is generally needed for a filling that will not be baked. A partially baked pie crust (or par-baked) crust is often called for a custard filling. We always partially bake a crust for pumpkin pie, chess pies, and sweet potato pie even if the recipe calls for a baked crust. That extra 10 to 15 minutes of baking time ensures a fully cooked bottom crust. It ensures that you have no soggy bottom. For desserts, however, you might want to consider an all-butter pie pastry.
- To pre-bake a pie crust (fully or partially), prepare your pie pastry, chill, roll, and fit it in the pie plate, forming the edge as desired. If you have the time, put the pie shell in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C/Gas 6) F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Take a piece of foil—about 15 inches in length—and fit it snugly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie dough. There should be enough overhang to make it easy to scoop it up—weights and all—when the pie has finished baking.
- Fill the lined pie shell with pie weights or dried beans all the way to the top of the shell. The weights keep the pie crust from bubbling up as it bakes. We use a combination of ceramic pie weights and dried beans, and We keep them in a container, so they're always handy when we need them.
- Bake the pie with the foil and weights for 15 minutes, or until the crust is set. Lower the oven temperature to 375 F (190 C/Gas 5). Remove the pie crust from the oven. Remove the foil and weights. We keep a combination of pie weights and dried beans in a container just for pie crusts.
- Prick the pastry in several places with a fork and return the pie crust to the oven.
- Bake at 375 F (190 C/Gas 5) for about 8 to 10 minutes longer for a partially baked crust, or about 15 to 18 minutes longer for a fully baked crust. A partially baked crust will be light golden brown around the edges, and a fully baked crust will be a deep golden brown and will look fully cooked.
- Take a look at it now and then as it bakes. If you notice any spots puffing up, prick them lightly with a fork.
- Remove the pie crust from the oven, cool, and fill following recipe directions.