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paté sucrée dough

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 to 2 tablespoons ice water (optional)

*The secret to this dough is keeping everything cold. If you have a food processor, use it. If you must use your hands keep a bowl of ice water nearby to keep them cold. In a very humid climate you may not need to add the water.

plum tart

butter to coat foil (about 2 tablespoons)
8-9 Large red plums, pitted, each cut into 8 wedges
4 tablespoons sugar combined with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Egg white, beaten to blend
Vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream

for the crust

1. In a food processor blend the flour, sugar, salt, and the butter until the mixture resembles meal.

2. Add the egg and 1 tablespoon of the water (optional), toss the mixture until the liquid is incorporated, adding 1 more tablespoon of water if the mixture is dry, and form the dough into a ball. Knead the dough lightly with the heel of your hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds to distribute the fat evenly and re-form it into a ball.

3. Dust the dough with flour and chill it, wrapped in waxed paper, for 1 hour.

Yield: about 15 ounces dough or enough dough for one 10-inch shell

for the tart

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Line a heavy baking sheet with buttered aluminum foil. Spread plum wedges on prepared sheet, spacing evenly. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar.

3. Bake about 30 minutes, until plums are tender but still hold shape. Set aside to cool.

4. Roll prepared paté sucrée on floured surface to form a 12-inch-diameter circle. Transfer pastry to center of another heavy large baking sheet or place in a tart pan.

5. Overlap plums in concentric circles on pastry, beginning in the center and working out to the edge. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over plums. If working on a baking sheet instead of a tart pan, fold edge of pastry over plums, pinching to seal any cracks in pastry.

6. Brush crust twice with egg white. If you're cooking in a tarte pan, simply trim off any overhanging crust.

7. Bake tart about 25 minutes, until golden. Run thin sharp knife carefully under tart edges to loosen from sheet. Cool 15 to 30 minutes.

8. Serve tart slightly warm with ice cream or whipped cream with vanilla added..