This month’s challenge did not seem like a challenge at all. This could be because I am comfortable with making pastry dough and it did not have any hard to find ingredients. Of course, I could have taken the extra challenge of making my own jam, but I did not make the time to do that. That said, I still managed to mess up this simple recipe (read on...).
SO...it all started with the Sweet Shortcut Pastry dough. Grating frozen butter was a bit messy and I certainly did not want to end up back at the Emergency Room again with a grated appendage. Considering that the box grater and I have sparred before (and it won, hence my hesitation), this was probably the worst part of the whole challenge. Once grated, and mixed with the dry ingredients, it was pretty clear sailing.
Frangipane...Ready for the Tart...er...Pudding
Once ready to assemble the tart, I microwaved a seedless raspberry jam a few seconds at a time, stirring between each 20 second interval. This worked out well. In fact, once I poured it into the tart, it was easily spread by just tilting the pan in order to get it into each area. I tried to ensure that the frangipane covered the jam entirely so that it wouldn’t bubble out once baking. I think it looked pretty good before it went in to the oven.
So, the reviews...even though I used the wrong sugar everyone that had a piece of this tart...er...pudding raved! Thinking about it now, it may have been too sweet had I used the icing sugar! It certainly did not compromise the finished product to use regular granulated sugar. I even had one person tell me that they would pay me to bake this again! Hmmm...grand ideas of opening my own bakery popped into my head (again...as if they ever really leave!). Here is the glamour shot of the finished product.
Yummy...Served Slightly Warmed
Thanks Jasmine and Annemarie for an easy challenge, that I still managed to accidentally tweak!
Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Assembling the tart
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.
When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
225g (8oz) all purpose flour
Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in color and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow color.