Almond Cream Tart
Nutty, Subtly Sweet and Simple to Make
- Servings: Makes a 10 to 12" tart.
I learned this recipe in one of the very first cooking classes I ever took. I was so intimidated by the prospect of cooking that I chose a class in which nothing was hands-on: the students only watched, learning only by looking, not touching. Although this may seem like an odd way to learn culinary skills, in retrospect it was the perfect way for a 20-something to get her first exposure to French technique.
Soon after that class I faced my fear and attempted this recipe, with a triumphant result. It's still in my regular repertoire. It's simple to make and the ingredients, apart from the Cognac, are easy and affordable to buy.
If you're not interested in making your own pastry dough, you can easily buy a pre-made unbaked shell (they're in the frozen food case) and use that.
Serve with a dollop of Cognac Cream (see recipe below).
- 1 pastry dough recipe for an open tart (10 to 12" pan). See below.
- 10 to 12 oz. sliced almonds (choose the kind that have an edge of skin left on, giving a brown detail to the sliced nuts)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus 1 cup for the Cognac Whipped Cream. See below.
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons Cognac (you can substitute good rum or kirsch) plus an extra 2 teaspoons for the Cognac Whipped Cream
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar (for the Cognac Whipped Cream)
- Preheat the oven to 375º F. Put one rack on the lowest level of the oven and a second rack to the upper third.
- Roll the pastry dough 1/4-inch thick and fit into a tart pan.
- Fill the pastry dough-lined tart pan with the almonds. Fill to just under the rim of the pan.
- In a bowl or large measuring cup with a capacity to take all the liquid ingredients, combine the heavy cream with the flour, 3 tablespoons Cognac, the almond extract and granulated sugar. Stir to mix the ingredients but don't whip.
- Place the tart pan containing the pastry dough and sliced almonds on a sheet pan that's been lined with a piece of parchment paper.
- Pour the cream mixture over the almonds.
- Bake the tart at 375º F on the lowest rack for 15 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 300º F and move the tart to the upper third of the oven and continue baking for another 25 to 30 minutes until fully set and the edges of the tart are golden brown.
- Let cool completely before serving.
Making Cognac Cream
- Whip 1 cup cold heavy cream until almost completely whipped.
- Add 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar and 2 teaspoons Cognac.
- Continue to whip until the consistency is as you like.
Pastry Dough for 1 Crust/Open Tart
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 4 tablespoons iced water (this is approximate; you may need more)
- Place the flour, sugar and salt in the basket of a food processor. Pulse once to combine.
- Sprinkle the diced cold butter over the flour mixture. Plus 4 or 5 times, one second for each pulse, to combine until the butter and flour together resemble corn meal.
- Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, and with a fork combine until large clumps form and the dough starts to hold together. If you need more than 2 tablespoons, sprinkle additional ice water gradually, in tiny amounts so that you don't get it too wet (although if this happens, don't panic; just gather up the finished dough and pat it with small amounts of extra flour until it achieves a tender, workable consistency). Adding the ice water by hand and not all at once in the food processor gives you vastly more control and a better, flakier result.
- Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about a half-hour. (You can make the dough up to a day in advance, keeping it in the refrigerator.)
- When ready to assemble the tart, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll to a circle about 1-inch larger than your tart pan and about 1/4-inch thick. Using the rolling pin, transfer the pastry dough to the tart pan and position it into place, trimming the edges so that the dough is even to the top of the rim of the pan.
- Chill the finished dough in the pan until you are ready to assemble and cook the tart.
Tip: If you have a favorite pastry dough recipe, go ahead and use that but make an amount sufficient for one crust.