How to Blind, Par or Pre Bake a pie crust. First we’ll answer the burning question of what’s the difference between the three? The answer is quite simple, nothing!! All three terms are used interchangeably when describing baking an empty pie shell and they mean the same thing. To blind, par or pre bake an empty pie shell, simply means to bake the empty pie shell prior to filling it. In this article, we’ll refer to the term “pre-bake”, versus using all three terms.
Note: Some recipes, how-to articles and posts related to pies will use the terms pie crust and pie shell interchangeably to describe pie dough that has been rolled out and placed in a pie dish. This no doubt causes confusion for the novice baker, and it’s incorrect information. A pie shell is the result of rolling out pie dough and placing it into a pie dish. It is in the raw dough form. The dough becomes an empty pie shell. A pie crust is the result of baking an empty pie shell in the oven until it becomes a browned crust.
The picture below shows a crust that has been partially pre-baked and is waiting to be filled and returned to the oven to finish baking. As you can see, the bottom crust has lost its raw dough appearance, but is still not baked through. Also, the edges are just barely a light golden color.
In some cases a pie shell is only partially pre-baked, such as pies that do not require a long baking time. This is done because the pie filling might get done before the bottom crust has time to thoroughly bake, resulting in a soggy crust. The empty pie shell is partially pre-baked for a few minutes, prior to pouring the filling into the shell. The pie goes back into the oven so the filling can bake while the crust finishes baking. Some pie recipes such as pumpkin, custard, chess and pecan sometimes require partially pre-baking the crust. This happens frequently with recipes that are baked in a shallow pie dish.
Other pie shells get pre-baked until the pie shell is totally baked into a crust. These crusts are used for pie fillings that do not require getting baked in the oven, such as cream and refrigerator pies.