I’m hosting next month’s Aspiring Bakers event and the theme is Boozy-licious – just bake or cook anything with at least 1 tablespoon of alcohol (yes any kind of alochol!), blog about it, and submit your entry to me! Can’t wait to see what you all have cooked up!
I really wish I have at least 4 days of weekend every week – I just can’t find enough time to bake, to blog and to visit blogs and leave comments. I really wonder how some of you do it – you guys are really amazing! So do pardon me for my lack of replies in comments and for my absence in your blogs, I wish I can say I will try to catch up, but the busy period for work is looming ahead and I know I will be kept busy for the next few months… 🙁
Leaving the woes aside, let’s come back to this tart! This almond tart from Williams-Sonoma is very interesting – a layer of jam is spread on top of a tart crust then topped with an almond-based filling that bakes up to have a cake-like texture. The soft, cakey texture is contrasted with the crunchy almond slices sprinkled on top as well as the crunchy tart crust. I tried Googling for the history but the weird thing is I find zilch on it! Many Italian almond tarts, also known as Frangipane Tarts, do not have the layer of jam in it. Instead, fruits such as raspberries or cherries are studded into the tart before baking.
After more Googling, I found that this tart is actually more similar to the English Bakewell Tart, an English teacake named after the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England. So did Williams-Sonoma named the tart wrongly when they uploaded the recipe? Guess we will never know…
But whether it is English or Italian, this tart is still delicious and great with a cup of hot tea! However, I’m not very satisfied with the tart crust as though it tastes good, it’s pretty hard to handle (gets soft very easily) and it’s pretty crumbly. I’ve also tried making my own almond paste using a recipe I found online and the resulting paste is quite liquidy – perhaps I have used too much egg, but luckily it didn’t affect the final product much. Sugar has also been reduced and I found the resulting sweetness is just right. If you are using a not-so-sweet jam, maybe you can increase the amount of sugar in the tart filling.
Before I go into the step-by-step photos, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Feline from Smitten Glutton for giving me this award – Feline you are too sweet! She takes really great photos of food so be prepared to get hungry if you visit her blog – don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉
Here are her questions for me:
1. What is one value that you live by?
Contentment. I love the sentence said by Maya Angelou, “We need much less than we think we need”.
2. Who’s your favorite person in the whole wide world?
My grandmother – she’s the most patient, tolerant, giving and generous person I’ve ever known.
3. Your most memorable meal of 2013
My homemade chicken rice – I can’t believe I made it, one whole chicken and all!
4. What was your first childhood ambition?
I don’t remember… I think I had a lot of dream jobs when I was young – doctor, lawyer, teacher, florist etc.
5. What would you do if you had a year of free time?
I would travel to as many places as I can – to see the magical northern lights and the majestic Taj Mahal, to climb the Great Wall of China and the mountains in Bhutan, to savour the fresh sashimi and delicious ramen in Japan…
6. Coffee or tea?
Both! Most of my friends prefer either or, but weirdly I like both!
7. If you were a potato, what food would you want to be when you grow up? (LOL)
Probably still a potato… potato dishes know no boundary! This question is so funny!
8. Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?
I was an extrovert when I was younger, but I found myself to becoming more and more of an introvert these days – weird huh!
9. Favorite music
Music by Joe Hisaishi.
10. What’s something about yourself that usually surprises others?
To people who don’t know me, they’d be surprised I bake/cook and also I owned a food blog. Probably because very few people are that into baking/cooking these days!
I’ve decided to pick a few of the bloggers that I really want to say Thank you to for this award, for they have always been so kind with their words and are always so nice and sweet. Thank you very much, I’m so glad to have known you all through the blogosphere! No question has been posted, just pass the love around! I know I will miss out a few bloggers, please pardon me! The list is long and I might have slipped some names…
A big thank you to Feline for the award and another big thank you to you all for being so encouraging and sweet!
And here are the step-by-step photos!
|1) Measure the dough incredients.||2) Cut the butter in.|
|3) Chill then press into tart tin.||4) Par-bake the crust.|
|5) Combine almond paste ingredients.||6) Blitz together into a paste - a bit too liquid!|
|7) Measure tart filling ingredients.||8) Beat in the egg.|
|9) Stir in the flour||10) Spread a layer of jam on top of the crust.|
|11) Spread the tart filling.||12) Sprinkle with almond flakes and bake!|
This bake is for Bake-Along hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Her Frozen Wings! And before I go into the recipe, here are all the other bakes by fellow foodies!
- 70 grams all-purpose flour (9 tablespoons)
- 28 grams caster sugar (1/8 cup)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 55 grams unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces and chilled (1/4 cup)
- ½ egg yolk
- ½ to 1 tablespoon ice cold water
- 50 grams ground almond (1/2 cup)
- 55 grams caster sugar (1/4 cup)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons beaten egg
- ½ teaspoon lemon / lime zest
- 115 grams Almond Paste (1/2 cup)
- 55 grams unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
- 28 grams caster sugar (1/8 cup)
- 1 egg
- 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2½ tablespoons jam
- 2 tablespoons sliced almond
- Mix flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add in butter and cut with 2 knives or rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add in the yolk and ice water and mix until a soft dough forms. Wrap the dough up with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
- Unwrap the dough and working quickly, roll it out with a rolling pin until it is big enough to cover a 7-inch tart pan. Transfer the dough into the tart pan, using your knuckles to gently ease the dough into the pan. If the dough tears, don't worry, use the excess dough to patch it up. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
- Line the dough with a parchment paper and line with plenty of weights (I used green beans). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the middle rack (for small ovens) or lower third of the rack (for big ovens) until the sides are pale golden. Remove the weights and parchment paper and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until the crust is golden. Set aside on a wire rack and let cool.
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a smooth paste is formed. The paste can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you need it - makes about ½ cup.
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
- Place the Almond Paste, butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Cream with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg , followed by flour.
- Spread the jam over the cooled tart shell and pour the tart batter over the jam, spreading the batter evenly. Sprinkle the almond slices all over the tart and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden-brown in colour. Serve warm.
I’m not very fond of the tart crust as it’s quite hard to handle and softens very easily. I think the problem lies with me – so I’ll have to give this tart crust a try again the next time. If you have tried this tart crust from the same recipe book, please share with me your experience! Or if you have a favourite tart crust, let me know and I’ll try yours next time.
The almond paste is also quite liquidy as I’ve used about 4 teaspoons of beaten egg – I think the almond paste is supposed to look like marzipan – a lot firmer and can be moulded, so I’ve reduced the amount of egg in the recipe. Nonetheless, the almond paste still incorporated well with the remaining ingredients.