Sunday, December 19, 2010

Almond tart, take 2

I love tarts.

Yes, I know, tell you something you don't know.

A while back I posted a recipe for an almond (frangipane) tart. But I can never have enough almond tarts!! So I had to try another recipe, this time from Cooks Illustrated.

Fruit and fat, that's why I love tarts!

In a head-to-head comparison, there were two main differences between these two recipes.

1. The frangipane filling from this CI recipe had eggs in it-- from what I can tell a more traditional frangipane. So it got poofier and literally swallowed the fruit!

While I liked it, I preferred the frangipane filling in the tart I made last time (the one w/out the eggs). Don't get me wrong, this one was delicious, very light and airy. But the other had a texture similar to marzipan, which I liked. So I highly recommend both fillings-- just depends on what you like.

2. This crust was more sweet and crispy. More like a cookie crust than a dough-y crust.

I liked the crispiness of the Cooks Illustrated recipe, but I felt it was a bit too sweet and overpowering for the relatively mild almond filling. I'd prefer the crust with a bit less sugar. Or as an alternative, use the crostada tart crust I made for the Daring Bakers challenge last month-- it was delicious!

And because I took the time to actually make these tarts look as purty as me (haha), here are some more pictures for you.


.... and after.

One thing both recipes shared was blanched almonds. Never blanched your own almonds before?!? No problemo!

All you need are raw almonds. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with plenty of boiling water. Let the almonds sit for a few minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water. All you have to do then is press each almond between your thumb and index finger to pop them out of their skins.

Almond skins

Neked almonds (ohhh la la!)

If you want to go the extra mile, feel free to dry and lightly toast the skinned nuts on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for seven to 10 minutes.

Buen Provecho,

Almond tart, adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Note: the recipe calls to make this tart in an 11" round. Instead, I used two pans: a 9" round and a 14" x 3" rectangular tart pan.


Stone fruit (pears, plums, peaches, cherries, etc), sliced

Tart Pastry (Pâte Sucrée)
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar (3 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Almond Filling (Frangipane)
4 ounces blanched slivered almonds (1 cup)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened to room temperature


1. FOR THE TART PASTRY: Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor with four 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about twenty 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough comes together, about 12 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk; wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

2. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap  to 15-inch round. (If dough becomes soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable, about 20 minutes.) Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely over rolling pin and unrolling over 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan, patching breaks or cracks if necessary. (If some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet or large plate and freeze 30 minutes. (Frozen dough-lined tart pan can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen up to 1 month.)

3. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet; lightly spray one side of 18-inch square heavy-duty extra-wide foil with nonstick cooking spray. Press foil, greased-side down, inside frozen tart shell, folding excess foil over edge of tart pan; fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake until dry, pale gold, and edges have just begun to color, about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Set baking sheet with tart shell on wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

4. FOR THE ALMOND FILLING: Pulse almonds, sugar, and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 25 two-second pulses; process until as finely ground as possible, about 10 seconds longer. Add egg and egg white, almond and vanilla extracts; process until combined, about 10 seconds. Add butter and process until no lumps remain, about 10 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula and process to combine thoroughly, about 10 seconds longer. (Can be refrigerated in airtight container up to 3 days. Before using, let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes to soften, stirring 3 or 4 times.)

5. TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE TART: Spread frangipane filling in the cooked tart shell and arrange sliced fruit on top.

6. Bake tart on baking sheet until crust is deep golden brown and almond filling is puffed, browned, and firm to the touch, about 45 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Cool tart on baking sheet on wire rack 10 minutes.


Renata said...

This page will go to my list. Love the tarts! Thanks for sharing the tips on how to blanch the almonds! Easy indeed!

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