A simple pastry crust can transform a boxed pudding mix into a chocolate pie, or leftover chicken into a special dinner. You can bake an unfilled crust ahead of time and keep it in your freezer, or make it just before filling to make a dessert or main dish. Choose a pastry or tart crust recipe for your unfilled pie crust.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. The high heat keeps the crust crisp and bakes it quickly.
Make your favorite pie crust recipe or unfold a purchased refrigerated crust in your pie pan. Press firmly into the pie pan and crimp the edge of the crust with the tines of a fork, or crimp it by pinching it between your finger and thumb all the way around the crust.
Prick the bottom and side of the pie crust with the tines of a fork. Prick the crust many times, close together, all over. This will help keep the crust from puffing up during baking.
Slide the pie pan into the oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Check the crust. If the crust is bubbling up in any place, press down gently on the area with your fingertips or the back of a spoon. Return the pie crust to the oven and bake another 6 to 8 minutes. The crust should be light brown.
Remove the pie crust from the oven and cool completely before adding the filling.