Dessert!

We had the distinct pleasure of hosting amd for dinner….and DESSERT!  What a treat! Being that she’s a baking pro (yes, we’re trying to embarrass her), she introduced us to one of her favorite desserts: almond tart.  Originally from a chef at Chez Panisse, the recipe we used was published on a blog; while the dessert is challenging, the recipe was presented with enough detail to address any possible pitfalls.  Well, that and we had the experienced amd guiding the way 😉  Since we wanted to focus on the dessert making, we decided to whip up a favorite of our own for dinner: lentil kale pasta.

The pasta recipe went according to plan and the result was as simple and delicious as ever.  We kept snacking on it throughout the evening.

For the tart, we started with the crust.  It was a simple pastry dough made with butter and a bit of almond extract, vanilla extract, and sugar.  In lieu of a pastry cutter, I introduced amd to my simple fork substitute.  We formed the dough and let it cool in the fridge while making dinner.  We then formed the dough into the pan by pressing it as evenly as possible over the bottom and sides.  This then went into the freezer to chill again.  Finally, the crust was baked at 375 °F until lightly golden.  The few “holes” that developed (looked more like possibly-thin spots to me) were filled in with our  extra dough saved exactly for that purpose.

Meanwhile, we started the tart filling.  One cup each of cream and sugar, along with some salt, were heated to a boil, just until the mixture started to foam.  Then we added 1 cup sliced almonds, 1/8 tsp almond extract, and 2–3 tsp vanilla sherry (my substitute for Grand Marnier or amaretto).

amd filled the tart, leaving a little filling left over and ensuring that the tart itself wasn’t overfilled.  Then the baking and cracking began.

After ten minutes, we checked on the tart and amd whacked at the top with the side of a rubber spatula, breaking up the bubbles and crust that were forming.  Then, every 5 minutes after that, this process was repeated until the tart started to take on a caramelized, golden color.  This is the trick for achieving the nice finish on the top of the tart.

Finally, the whole tart turned golden brown and we removed it from the oven.  But then we had to wait again, this time for the tart to cool.

amd set the tart pan on top of a bowl, loosened the edges, and removed the tart pan frame. We let the rest cool some more and finally loosened the bottom with a serrated knife before transferring it off the bottom of the tart pan.  Finally we could eat and enjoy this most rich and fulfilling tart!

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