Monday, November 07, 2005

finally, this Tart bakes a tart

I am a sucker for things with almond in them. I never met an almond croissant I didn't like. So when I found a recipe for a pear and almond tart, I couldn't resist. I made the pear version a couple weeks ago and it was good, so today I'm making an apple variation because I happen to have some apples around.

By the way, I love my apple corer. It made the job easy:

The pears go in the tart unadorned, but for this version with apples, I tossed them with a little lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Oh, and some fresh-grated nutmeg. I let that sit while I prepared everything else.

On to the crust. Flaky pastry crust is one thing I've never quite fully mastered, but I'm getting better. My great-grandma would be pleased. In my grad-school stint working at a bakery, I learned that the keys are very, very cold butter and just barely mixing long enough to make things hold together, like so:

I shaped that into a disk, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and chilled it while I worked on the filling, which involves almond paste, an item the bagger at the grocery store invariably places in the bag of non-food items. I'm not sure why. The packaging is vaguely reminiscent of toothpaste, I suppose.

Anyway, the filling is the almond paste, sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and vanilla. If you've got a food processor, electric hand mixer, or a fancy-pants stand mixer, now's the time to break it out, because you'll never get the lumps out of the almond paste otherwise. The stuff is very, very firm. (The almond paste itself, that is. The filling will be sort of a cake-batter consistency when you're done.)

I pressed the crust into the tart pan and spread the filling in the bottom. The recipe calls for an 11-inch tart pan, and mine is 9-inch, so I had some leftover filling. I learned the first time around to go easy on the filling, lest the tart overflow and you find yourself having to clean the oven. I arranged the fruit on top and dotted with butter, and here it is, all dressed up and ready to go into the oven:

I tried to do a concentric-circle thing but it looks kinda goofy. Oh well. And here's the finished product:

It got a touch too brown in spots, as you can see -- my oven in this apartment runs reeeally hot. That's even with putting the rack in the very bottom of the oven! Alas. Anyway, I can't wait to taste. (It's still cooling. We'll see how long I can stand to let this go on.) The pear version was fantastic.


Blogger Sarah said...

Mmmm. We're all about autumn here at Three Tarts!

Quote taken out of context (now it's a cautionary tale about overworking us teachers and editors): "I learned the first time around to go easy on the filling, lest the tart overflow." Don't you hate it when you overflow?

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

What an excellent tart. Made my day.

9:24 PM  

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