To blind-bake a crust, start by preheating your oven to 425°F, with a rack placed in the lower third. If you’re using a metal pie plate, you can place it directly on the rack. If you’re using a glass or ceramic dish, placing an empty rimmed aluminum baking sheet on the rack while the oven preheats can help ensure that your bottom crust comes out extra crisp.
To prevent puffing, you’ve got two options: docking or using weights. With docking, you poke the bottom crust several times with the tines of a fork to give expanding air and water vapor a means of escape. Of course, this does nothing to help the sides of your crust stay upright.
Weighting a pie crust by first lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil, then filling it with pie weights, dried beans, or pennies, both solves the puffy-bottom problem and helps keep the sides upright as the pie crust bakes. (For the record, weighting a pie crust without first lining it with parchment or foil is also a bad idea, which I also learned the hard way.)
For the best results, line your pie plate with your dough, then transfer it to the freezer for about 10 minutes in order to really firm it up before lining it with foil or parchment. This will help ensure that the crust keeps a nice shape as it bakes.
Once it’s lined and weighted, transfer the crust to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, just until the crust begins to set.
Remove the liner and the weights and continue baking until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Remove it from the oven, and make sure that it is completely cooled before you fill it. A blind-baked crust can be covered loosely with foil and stored at room temperature for up to three days before being filled.