A tart pan
4 cups dry beans or rice
Pizza stone (optional, but handy)
If the dough was frozen, move it to the fridge 1 day before rolling it out, then proceed as follows.
Rolling out the dough
Step 1: Remove the dough from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling it out. This will let the butter soften and make it easier to roll out.
Step 2: Roll the dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to 1/8 inch thick. Start rolling in the center of the dough and roll away from you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn after each roll. Clean off your pin of dough scraps periodically.
If the dough cracks around the edges when you start to roll it, pick it up with floured hands, and squeeze the edges together to merge the cracks, then continue rolling.
If the dough starts to stick to the counter, slide the pastry scraper under it to unstick, move the dough to the side, and add more flour to the counter. It’s normal for the dough to crack around the edges. If you get a crack that is so large it will show once the dough is fitted into the pan and trimmed, you will need to patch it. Cut a piece of dough from an edge where you have extras, wet your finger and brush the edges of a crack, then glue your patch on top of the crack and press it down with your palm. Sprinkle with flour and roll over the patch with your rolling pin. Slide a pastry scraper under the patched part of the dough to release it from the counter.
Step 3: Flip the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to the tart pan.
Fit the dough into the sides of the pan without stretching it and press it into the grooves.
Roll the rolling pin over the top of the dough to trim the excess.
Step 4: Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes while preheating the oven.
Pre-baking the tart shell
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the rack.
Step 2: Line the tart shell with parchment paper or foil and dry beans (or some other weight) and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 18 minutes.
Step 3: Remove parchment paper with beans, lightly poke dough with a fork at 1/2 inch intervals to prevent it from puffing up, and return to the bottom third of the oven for 5 more minutes. Cool the beans and save them for your next tart. I think my beans are 6 years old by now :)
Ta-da -- you have a pre-baked tart shell that will withstand even the wettest filling. Now you can fill the tart shell and finish baking it according to your recipe.