Baking blind (sometimes called pre-baking) is the process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without the filling. Rather than using filling, weights known as baking beans are used to weigh down the pastry. Blind baking a pie crust is necessary when it will be filled with an unbaked filling (such as with pudding or cream pies) or when the filling has a shorter bake time than the crust. Blind baking a pie crust also helps prevent the pie crust from becoming soggy from its filling.
Generally, the pie crust is lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper, then filled with pastry- or pie-weights to keep the crust's shape while baking. These weights are typically ceramic or metal beads, but dried peas, lentils, beans or other pulses can be used as well. The crust is poked repeatedly with the tines of a fork to produce small holes—this helps the steam escape and prevents the crust from bubbling up. After the pie crust is done, the temporary filling is replaced with the proper filling.
Blind-baking also helps to form a nice pastry case for the filling as it has already been partially formed from blind-baking.