What is Blind Baking?
Blind baking refers to partially baking or fully baking a crust before adding the filling. It is not about blind folding someone and playing some sort of culinary mashup game of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” That would be dangerous and probably not too tasty. Blind baking a crust will help prevent soggy bottoms and lead you onto your way to deliciousness. Once the crust is baked naked (sans filling), the filling is added and then finished baking or chilled, depending on the recipe’s need.
When blind baking a crust, you’ll line it and then weigh down the crust with pie weights, beans, dry rice, or something similar to help keep the bottom flat and the sides from sagging. As it bakes, the dough is going to want to puff and sag, and blind baking techniques are the culinary solution. After it bakes long enough to set, you can remove the stuff weighing it down, and then finish either par-baking it until it look dry-ish or finish baking a flakey golden brown, depending on your need.
When to Blind Bake A Crust?
There are 2 main types of recipes which benefit or need blind baking. When the filling is fairly liquidy (e.g. quiche, custard type pies like pumpkin pie). In this case you’ll partially blind bake the crust, usually until it loses its doughy look and the crust starts to lightly brown and appear drier. The other time you’ll blind bake is when the filling isn’t cooked at all, like for a Coconut Cream Pie or Chocolate Silk Pie. In this instance you’ll bake the crust completely, then usually fill and chill your delicious masterpiece.