Pâte Brisée

2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups flour

Using an electric mixer, briefly blend sugar, salt, and butter in bowl. Add eggs and milk, beating only a few seconds before adding flour all at once. Mix only until dough adheres to beater––small pieces of butter can remain. Remove dough, and form into oblong. Dust with flour, wrap in plastic, and place in refrigerator or freezer for several hours.

Note: Defrost frozen pâte brisée overnight in refrigerator before baking.

Pear Frangipane Tart

1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
4 ounces marzipan
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup flour
1 recipe pâte brisée
3 poached pears, drained and halved

Makes 1 to 2 Nine-Inch Tart Shells, Serves 12.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and marzipan. Alternately add eggs and flour, until they are completely incorporated. Set aside.

Roll out chilled pâte brisée, and fit into 1 nine-inch false- bottom tart pan. Spread frangipane evenly over unbaked shell. Arrange pear halves in decorative pattern on top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tart is slightly browned and crust is done. Serve at room temperature.

From “The Pleasure of Their Companies,” originally featured in Domain, Winter 1988