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Baking empty pastry shells before filling them is a process known as blind baking. Recipes for custards, cream pies and tarts often call for this method. These delicate fillings require a short baking time, so baking the shell beforehand ensures a crispy, flaky crust. The process is relatively simple, but you must take a few precautions to ensure an attractive shell. Once the shell is finished baking, simply add the filling and proceed with your recipe as usual.

Roll out and shape the dough into the tart pan.

Refrigerate the shell for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line the shell with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill the lined shell with dried beans or rice.

Bake the shell until the sides are firm, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Reduce the oven's heat to 350 degrees and remove the parchment paper and beans. Bake the shell for an additional 12 to 15 minutes, or until it becomes golden.