A mid-day post, how novel?! I wanted to get this up, stat, because I just got an email from a flummoxed reader who asked me to explain the term "blind baking" - the pumpkin pie recipe calls for you to blind bake the crust.
"Blind baking" is just a fancy term for baking the crust before you put the filling inside. You should use dried beans or pie weights (the pie weights I've seen are either ceramic balls or else little metal balls all linked together on a chain) to keep the bottom of the crust from puffing up too much as it bakes. It's likely something you've already done, if you ever bake pie or quiche. For the uninitiated, after you get your crust situated in the pie plate, put a bunch of dried beans/pie weights in to cover the bottom part of the crust, bake for the time indicated, remove the beans/weights, and fill the pie.
Many recipes/cookbooks call for you to line the crust with aluminum foil before putting the pie weights in - this can help keep the crust from getting too brown. I don't do this, and I haven't had an issue with too much browning - in fact, I find the foil to be cumbersome and that it usually wrecks the crust a little bit going in. So if you wanna be a purist, you can do this, but I take the short-cut way and don't.
Please, if you ever have questions about terms or recipes, just email me or post them in the comments, OK?