Once the dough is well chilled, preheat oven to 375°F. Prick the dough with a fork, and line with buttered foil (butter facing dough). Then fill the shell with pie weights, dry beans or rice, place on a cookie sheet (makes it easier to get them in and out of oven), and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes until lightly browned.
Transfer to a rack to cool. Once cooled these can be filled immediately or frozen up to a month.
When I made these, I filled them with an espresso pastry cream and topped them with slices of the most wonderful red wine poached pears, and a drizzle of the poaching liquid reduced down until it was very syrupy. I've included the recipe for the pears (also from Bistro Cooking), and a link to the pastry cream recipe on epicurious.com.
Poires Au Vin Rouge (Pears in Red Wine)
From Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells
These could stand alone as a lovely dessert, but when added to the cream and tarts, well... let’s just say the rebootwas a definitely a worthwhile upgrade!
4 large pears, peeled with stems intact
½ cup sugar (or vanilla sugar if you are lucky enough to have it)
1 bottle fruity red wine
½ cup crème de cassis
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 sprig rosemary
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
4 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
In a deep non-reactive saucepan that will hold the pears snugly, combine all of the ingredients. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the pears from time to time, so they are evenly coated. Simmer until the pears are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat; allow to cool. Transfer the pears and liquid to a serving dish. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. If you are using them for the tarts, halve, core and cut into thin slices lengthwise, then lay them out on a paper towel and pat dry so they don't weep into the pastry cream.
Here’s a link to the pastry cream I used for my tartlets:
[So what do you do with the leftover poaching liquid? Well, you could use it again to poach more pears, or do what I did. I reduced it down until it was thick and drizzled a little over the tarts, and the rest over vanilla ice cream a few days later!]