8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; mix in vanilla. Add the flour and the salt, and mix on medium-low speed until just combined and crumbly, about 15 seconds (do not overmix).
Pat the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 month.
2. Unwrap dough; lightly flour large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and place dough in center. Roll out dough and line tart pan. Freeze dough 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and other rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Place chilled tart shell on cookie sheet; press 12-inch square of foil inside tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights.
Bake on lower rack 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out.
Transfer cookie sheet with tart shell to upper rack and continue to bake until shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.
Use this tart shell for fruit tarts, and pies that do not require baking as the shell is already cooked.