In an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and salt and beat until combined. Stir together flour and almonds and add to butter mixture. Slowly mix just until flour is evenly moistened. Do not let it form a ball. Remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured work surface and form into 2 balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, wrap well, and refrigerate a minimum of four hours or as long as 4 days.
These two different pastry doughs have very different textures. The first is flaky due to the incorporation of butter in small pieces: as the dough cooks, the butter melts and the water in it turns to steam and puffs up the dough. The second dough is tender and crumbly: the butter is well creamed as for a cookie; the confectioner's sugar adds tenderness due to the cornstarch it contains; the ground almonds, which can be substituted for some of the flour in any pastry dough recipe, add an interesting graininess.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved