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1. For nutmeg crust, position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium bowl combine butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp. salt, and nutmeg. Add flour; mix just until well blended. If dough is too soft, let stand a few minutes to firm up.
2. Evenly press dough on bottom and sides of a 9- to 9-1/2-inch square or round tart pan in a thin layer. (This takes patience, as there is just enough dough.) Refrigerate 30 minutes to firm the dough.
3. Place pan on baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is a deep golden brown, checking after 15 minutes. If dough has puffed from bottom of pan, prick a few times and gently press down with back of a fork. Cool in pan on wire rack.
4. For vanilla filling, in heavy medium saucepan whisk 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp. salt to blend. Add 3 Tbsp. half-and-half and whisk to form a smooth paste. Whisk in remaining half-and-half. Using a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon, stir constantly over medium heat, scraping bottom, sides, and corners of pan until filling thickens and begins to bubble. Cook and stir 1 minute more to fully cook cornstarch. Stir in the 2 tsp. vanilla extract. Immediately pour into crust, leveling with spatula. Cool 1 hour, uncovered, at room temperature. Refrigerate in covered container to cool completely. Serve with Spiced Pears. Makes 12 servings.
1. In large saucepan combine white wine, Poire William (pear liqueur), sugar, and vanilla bean. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Stir in pears. Return to boiling. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 5 to 8 minutes more or until pears are crisp-tender. Remove from heat; cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.