By Irena Eaves

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.

Some recipes call for a prebaked shell that can be filled with fruit or cream.

Step 1

Roll out and shape the dough into the tart pan.

Step 2

Refrigerate the shell for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

Step 6

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.