One of my favorite accompaniments to a cheese course is a hazelnut and fig jam spread on apples slices topped with pecorino and broiled, adapted from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. I love the jam with the apples and decided to turn those flavors into a tart for this contest. I changed the flavor profile by swapping almonds for the hazelnuts, prunes instead of figs, added lots of citrus flavor and layered it all into a flavorful almond crust. The tart is great plain with a cup of tea or embellished with a very lightly sweetened whipped cream, a dollop of creme fraiche or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. —melissav
one 9 inch tart
almond meal or almonds, ground in the processor until a fine crumb
stick of butter, very cold, cubed
prunes, pitted and halved
healthy pinch of salt
granny smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced 1/8 inch thick. You need enough for one layer in the tart pan (whether you need 1 and 1.5 depends on the size of our apples
juice from 1/2 orange
Grand Marnier or Brandy if you want a less pronounced orange flavor
In This Recipe
Put flour, almond meal, sugar, orange zest, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and process for a minute to combine.
Add butter and pulse until incorporated as small pebbles. Add water and extracts and process until dough is smooth and comes together.
Dump on a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disk and place in the fridge to chill.
When ready to assemble the tart, remove the dough from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. This is a press in dough. Place the disk in a tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your fingers and starting in the middle of the disk, work the disk out until it cover the bottom and then up until it covers the tart pan. If you end up with too much on one side and not enough on the other, you can pinch off the excess and use it to fill in the missing areas. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 375. Bake the crust for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool then assemble as instructed below.
To make the Jam, first peel the zest from the orange using a vegetable peeler. Slice the peel into matchsticks. You should have approximately 1/4 cup of matchsticks.
Combine the sugar, water, and orange zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minutes and then bring down to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the prunes and bring back to a simmer. Then turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
In a mini food processor, add the almonds, prune mixture, and salt. Pulse until incorporated. You don't want it completely smooth but not too chunky. You want small little bits of nuts and fruit.
Prepare the apples by tossing with the orange juice and sugar. Set aside.
Prepare the custard: Beat the egg and sugar until light yellow and slightly thickened. Beat in the flour, then the cream, and then the Grand Marnier.
To prepare the tart, place the tart pan with the prebaked crust on a piece of foil on a baking sheet. This makes it easier to get in and out of the oven and protects against spills.
Spread a nice layer of the jam on the bottom of the tart. You will not need it all. You will have enough leftover for your toast for the next few days. Top with the apples, arranged in slightly overlapping circles. Then carefully pour over the custard until full - you might have a spoonful or so leftover or you might not.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and slide the tart onto a rack to cool for 5-10 minutes. Carefully remove side from tart pan. Slice and serve.