This Italian almond tart is inspired by a recipe from Carol Field's The Italian Baker. I like to up the quantity of almonds to the filling and blind bake the pastry first.
It's so simple, but also easy to dress up. Use your favourite shortcrust pastry (mine is this one: https://food52.com/recipes...), make this incredibly creamy almond filling, smooth it into the pastry and bake. Carol Field doesn't blind bake the tart shell first, but because it's such a buttery, moist filling, I think it's a good idea to bake first. And although this is lovely just as it is, if you wanted to embellish it, scatter it with chopped or sliced almonds, dust it with powdered sugar and serve it with unsweetened whipped cream on the side. This tart works very well with fruit added to it, too. Try some poached pear slices, fresh apricot halves pushed into the almond batter before cooking, or even some jam spread onto the bottom of the tart shell (go with something on the tart side like sour cherry or raspberry). —Emiko
9-inch unbaked tart shell, chilled (see note for link or choose your favourite sweet shortcrust pastry)
(125 grams) whole, unpeeled almonds
(100 grams) sugar
(225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk
almond extract (or a splash of amaretto liqueur)
(100 grams) roughly chopped blanched almonds (or a mixture of almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts)
Optional: powdered sugar for dusting or whipped cream for serving
Blind bake the tart shell, lined with parchment and layered with some baking beads (or if you don't have them, some dried beans or dry rice) at 375°F/190°C for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the baking beads and foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is pale but does not look raw. Remove the tart shell, let cool, but keep the oven on, turned down to 350°F/180°C.
In the meantime, in a food processor, grind the unpeeled almonds and the sugar together until they are like fine sand. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and whip for 3-4 minutes with electric beaters or a mixer until pale and creamy. Add the egg and the yolk, along with the extracts and beat well. Stir through the chopped nuts.
Spread the almond filling over the blind-baked tart shell and smooth over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the filling is set, the top dry to the touch, and the pastry shell is golden-brown. Cool completely before serving.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.