Thursday 5 December 2013

Italian Almond Tart

I baked the Italian Almond Tart today.... just couldn't resist baking it after looking at the posts for the current (& ending very soon) Bake Along event. As expected, the tarts looked gorgeous & they got a few of BitterSweetSpicy's FB fans excited! Before that, when the tarts were still in the oven, I was already feeling excited . They were so fragrant.... 
Before the tarts were completely cool, I decided to cut one as I couldn't wait to take a bite. Oh my.... it's so  heavenly.... The combination of the flaky, fragrant tart shell &  moderately rich almond filling makes this tart an excellent dessert!

Notes & modifications:
  1. I made 1 recipe of the dough & only 1/2 recipe of the almond filling. The recipe made four 10cm heart-shape & one 11x6 cm rectangle tart pans, with removable bottom.
  2. For the dough, I added the water last.  I didn't need to add all, just a little. 
  3. The dough was quite sticky, so it was quite challenging to roll out the dough to the pan.
  4. I only spread a thin layer of jam onto my tart shell because I didn't want my almond tart to be too sweet.

Italian Almond Tart
Recipe by Williams-Sonoma.

1 rolled-out round of tart dough (see recipe below)
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g almond paste, cut into 1-inch cubes (recipe below)
1/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1⁄3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour.)
1/3C raspberry, plum or cherry jam
1⁄3 cup sliced almonds

  1. Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan. Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking.
  2. Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
  3. Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
  4. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F. 
  5. In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat the butter until smooth. Add the almond paste, one piece at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. While continuing to beat, sprinkle in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour. 
  6. Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the partially baked tart shell. Spoon in the almond paste mixture and spread evenly over the jam. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sliced almonds. 
  7. Bake the tart until the filling is golden and the middle is firm to the touch, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let the sides fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature.
Makes one 9 1/2-inch tart; serves 8.

Almond Paste
Recipe from Joyce. (makes about 250g)

150gm ground almond
90gm sifted powdered sugar
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoon egg white (adding a little at a time as needed to form a dough)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp salt
Mix everything together and knead to a dough. Use as directed or freeze it.

Basic tart dough
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. very cold water (I didn't use all.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour, aka top flour.)
1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick / 125g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.
  2. To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
  3. To make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.
  4. Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
  5. To roll out the dough, on a lightly floured board, flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick. Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a round or rounds 2 inches greater in diameter than your tart or larger tartlet pans. Use a small, sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut out rounds 1/2 to 1 inch greater in diameter than your miniature tartlet pans. If using a rectangular tart pan, cut out a rectangle 2 inches larger on all sides than the pan. Makes enough dough for one 9 1/2-inch tart, six 4-inch tartlets, twelve 2-inch miniature tartlets or one 13 3/4-by-4 1/4-inch rectangular tart.
I'm linking this post to Bake-Along #55 hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen Wings.


Vic said...

i love these tarts too... and i love your tart as well ^^

Gee® said...


kitchen flavours said...

This tart is a hit with everyone who bake this! A really delicious tart indeed. I like the pretty shape of your tart!

lena said...

these are really nice tarts to eat..quite a unique tart i would say and happy that you like it. You sound excited too! thx for baking along with us!

Zoe said...

Hi Faeez,

I'm very happy that you like these heavenly nutty tarts. It has a 5 out of 5 ratings at William Sonoma and I like to rate the same for this recipe too :D


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