This is one of our favorite desserts. In fact, Brian and I think this could be the best dessert we've ever had. And that's not surprising because it's Lindsey Shere's Almond Tart from Chez Panisse and it was the most popular dessert on that menu for thirty years. I have to provide dessert for a progressive dinner this weekend and I knew this was what I was going to fix. I fixed a couple of them. We love it. Serve this with a glass of Amaretto and it's just about the perfect thing.
I am using the recipe given in the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters. Lindsey Shere, the original pastry chef who developed the recipe, gives a slightly different version in the biography that Thomas McNamee wrote last year about Alice Waters*. She also talks at length about how to bake the tart.
Lindsey's Almond Tart
for the tart pastry:
- 1 stick butter (real butter)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 drops each of almond and vanilla extracts
- 1 tablespooon water
for the filling:
- 1 cup unpeeled raw sliced almonds
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 1 tablespoon kirsch
- 2 drops almond extract
for the tart crust:
Put the flour and sugar in a food processor. Process til blended. Add the butter in slices and process. Add the extracts and water and process til it gathers up in a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill until you are ready to use it. Then take it out and bring it to room temperature.
Press the tart pastry into a 9-inch tart form with a removable ring. You can't really roll out this dough - it's easier just to press it in. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and sides about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate for about an hour. Bake the tart in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until it begins to set and brown. Remove the tart to a rack and cool to room temperature.
for the filling:
In a heavy saucepan, mix all the of the filling ingredients and cook mixture over low heat until sugar dissolves and the texture is silky, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the mixture slightly and pour it into the tart shell.
Place a second oven rack under your baking rack and line with a piece of foil. This tart will bubble over and the foil will catch the mess. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. The filling will bubble up a lot most of the cooking time and then at the end it will begin to caramelize. When the filling is golden, remove tart to a cake rack and let cook to room temperature before cutting.