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Monday, September 1, 2014

September ABC challenge: Almond Tart and Bake-off

This promises to be an amazing dessert.  It just needs... something.  I'm not sure what that is, yet. But I'm happy to keep working on it.  Meanwhile, I made this as part of an almond tart bake-off, the other recipe being a Maid of Honour tart.

I didn't want to be trapped in the house with 6 of these things (“Danger, Will Robinson!”), so I reduced the recipe to create only one, and within that reduced the total sugar by 1 tablespoon.  It worked nicely.  Making these small batches, it helps to have a variety of miniature kitchen tools.  I mixed everything for this in a mini, 1-cup food processor.  The measuring spoons I used are tiny; the largest, the dash, is about equal to 1/4 teaspoon, or 16 drops of water. The pinch spoon equals 10 drops, and the smidgen spoon 6.  A mini whisk and mini spatula complete the collection.  I was, however, missing the mini tart pan.  What I used instead was really a 4.5-inch ceramic pie pan.  The tart wouldn't release from it, but I thought it worked well anyway, though it was a little deep for the filling.

The instructions call for "spreading" the filling.  My filling was so liquid, it would have evened out on its own.  I thought it must be too thin, so added another 2 teaspoons of almond flour to thicken it up just to the point that I would have to lightly spread it out in the crust.  (It's so easy to get the measurements off when reducing to such small proportions.)  I probably shouldn't have, as the final product was just a wee bit dry.

Here's what I used:

1/2 cup 3 teaspoons sugar (reduced from 4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup 4 teaspoons soft butter
1/4 teaspoon smidgen spoon salt
1 1/6 teaspoon vanilla extract (equals dash spoon + smidgen spoon)
1/2 1/12 teaspoon almond extract (equals pinch spoon)
 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup 2 tablespoons almond flour or finely ground sliced or slivered almonds

1/4 cup 2 teaspoons soft butter
1/4 teaspoon smidgen spoon salt
1 cup 2 tablespoons sugar (reduced from 2 2/3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 1/6 teaspoon almond extract (equals dash spoon + smidgen spoon)
1 1/6 teaspoon vanilla extract (equals dash spoon + smidgen spoon)
3 large eggs ½ egg, about 30g
1 1/4 cups 3 1/3 tablespoons almond flour

1 cup glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
raspberries, for garnish
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
about 1 teaspoon heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  To make the crust, beat together the sugar, butter, salt, and extracts.  Add the flours, stirring to make crumbs that cling together when squeezed.  Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of six 4 1/2" mini tart pans (or a full-size tart pan; see tips, at left); prick them all over with a fork.  Freeze the crusts for 15 minutes, then bake them until they're just beginning to brown on the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool while you make the filling.

To make the filling, beat together the butter, salt, sugar, flour, and extracts.  Beat in the egg, then add the almond flour, stirring just to combine. Spread the filling into the crust.  Bake the tart for 18 to 24 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan.

To make the glaze, gently heat the chocolate and cream together until melted and stir thoroughly.  (Adjust cream quantity until chocolate is of a dribbling consistency.)  Spoon into a plastic bag, cut off the tip, and squeeze decoratively onto tart.

Conclusion:  Delicious.  I liked this very much.  It was a little intense; but I wouldn't add ice cream, or even  whipped cream, as I think the delicate almond flavor would be lost.   Maybe a little vanilla custard would do.  A little more chocolate would have been nice, too.

Recipe:  Almond tarts via King Arthur Flour


  1. Love your almond tart challenge! They both look good, although the one with the layer of jam sounds a little yummier. I too was considering putting a layer of raspberry jam between the crust and filling but forgot to buy it. Now I'm thinking of a chocolate layer in between. Interesting that you thought it needed "something". How about orange zest or a few drops of orange blossom water?
    Btw, the linky tool is up!

    1. I think orange zest would be great! But my experience with orange flower water is that it wouldn't be able to compete with the almond, and especially if you use chocolate. I don't find it survives heat well, but I think I have a cheap brand. I couldn't really say which I like better of the two tarts -- they were too different, surprisingly. It would be a mood thing -- you know, like if you wanted something rich and decadent, I'd go with almond-chocolate, but if you wanted a more summery dessert, it would be the almond-jam choice. It has a lighter flavor, especially with the lemon.

  2. Very nice! I served it with peaches which went very nicely with it but I'm liking your chocolate drizzle very much.

    1. That sounds like a delicious combination, and a nice way to lighten up the dessert.

  3. this is a clever way to bake them and not having to eat them all yourselves. (I'm glad to have an always hungry crowd here). My filling was quite runny too and did the trick. Great job

    1. Good to know that your filling was runny. If I make them again, I won't add the extra flour.

  4. What a great small batch baking!! I'm going to keep your notes. Very pretty

    1. Thanks, Judy! One day it would be interesting to do a small batch side-by-side with a full recipe to see how close the reduction comes to the original.

  5. You can never go wrong with the addition of chocolate- will need to try that!

  6. The tart looks perfect. Brilliant idea to use chocolate glaze. Besides paring well with almonds they also add that color to the tart. Your little mini tools sound great. I too don't need 6 of these so am planning on baking two of these so will use 1/3rd of the recipe.

    1. I'll be interested to see how your small batch works out.