Some pies, like Aunt Alice’s Strawberry Pie or my father’s favorite Lemon Meringue Pie, call for a baked pie crust. Certain pies are best if you bake the crust beforehand, then fill it with the wet pie filling.
When baking a pie crust empty, with no weight of fruit in it, it might puff up in the middle and the sides might slip, so you need some weight to keep the crust in place.
First, prick the pie crust all over with a fork; this lets out the steam and helps prevent the bottom from puffing up.
Then add some weight in the crust to keep it down.
I sometimes put a slightly smaller aluminum pie tin inside for the first few minutes of baking, or I use pie weights.
Pie weights are ceramic or metal beads or plates that do just that—weight down the unbaked crust. They’re washable and reusable. You simply cover the crust with aluminum foil and put in the weights.
You can use dried beans instead of pie weights, but they do eventually need to be replaced.
Bake the crust in a preheated 425°F (220°C) oven for 12-15 minutes. After 8-10 minutes, you can remove the pie weights so that the crust browns a little.