Does anyone have any strong feelings on this? Is it really worth the extra step? I'm curious if anyone has ever done a side-by-side comparison of two pies (one parbaked, one not) to really know if any significant differences exist.
It depends on what kind of pie you're baking! For custard pies or more-liquidy fillings, blind baking/parbaking prevents the crust from getting too soggy and/or not baking entirely (soggy crust = sad crust!). Here's a bit more about blind baking: https://food52.com/blog...
We just had Thanksgiving in Canada. I blind baked the crusts for pumpkin pies and was glad I did. No soggy crust under a custard, as Food52 noted in the first comment. It's such an EASY extra step, and I DON'T go out of my way for extra steps in the kitchen. (Plus we don't use pennies anymore in Canada so we all have loads of them.)
I did NOT blind bake for apple pies (though I did pre-sauté and caramelize the apples because the apple filling is so much better that way). I approximated a Kenji Alt-Lopez apple pie filling recipe (I omitted his squash).
Everyone loved the pies.
Happy pie baking and eating! :-)
I pretty much always blind bake a single crust pie crust. (It's usually for a custardy filling, in any case.) I wouldn't blind bake a crust if I were going to have a top crust on the pie, because that would keep the crusts from melding together and sealing around the crust.