Before I get started with my recipe I’d like to share exactly where I found the inspiration for and adapted it from. There’s a pastry chef by the name of David Lebovitz, now living in Paris, who worked for years in Berkeley at Chez Panisse. Everything you could want to know about this charming fellow is on his website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/
He’s published several books and shares many recipes there on the site. This particular recipe that I found is a pastry crust for making jam tarts; the dough doesn’t need to be rolled which is a huge plus in my world as I’m not keen on rolling dough in my tiny kitchen. I’d direct you first to his recipe here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/07/jam-tart/ then scroll down to see what changes and suggestions I’ve made. It’s a versatile recipe, allowing for many different fillings as well as changes or additions to the dough, as you’ll see.
These have been a hit everywhere I’ve taken them – if they make it out of the house, that is.
9 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 Cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 Cups finely ground almonds1
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 Cups strawberry, raspberry or other jam2
Have on hand for toppings:
coarse raw sugar (turbinado, or demerara sugar)
Beat together butter and sugar until combined (room temp for the butter is important, otherwise it’ll take forever to cream the sugar into the butter). Mix in the egg, egg yolk and almond extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients, until the mixture just comes together; if it still feels too sticky or wet, add more flour, a Tbsp. at a time, until it does come together. Measure out about 2/3rds of the dough, pat it into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill it. Take the remaining dough and roll it into a log about 2-inches in diameter, wrap it and chill it, too.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to room temperature slightly. With the heel of your hand, press the dough into the bottom and sides of an non-buttered removable bottom tart pan, or spring-form pan, patting it evenly.3 Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Remove the log of dough from the refrigerator and slice in cookie-sized disks, then lay them over the jam. Top generously with coarse raw sugar, about 2 tablespoons.
Bake at 350 degrees until the pastry is golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
1 I thought my coffee grinder could pull double duty as an almond grinder but I was sadly mistaken. Yours might be more adept at this. In any case, I used my large food processor and it worked wonderfully. I sifted the ground almonds through a fine mesh strainer, ending with an lovely almond flour. I used the larger pieces that were left over as a sprinkled topping on a couple of tarts. Even with the almond flour and extract in the dough it is still a subtle flavoring – which was complimented quite well with a blackberry jam for one of the tarts.
2 Any thick preserves or jam is perfect for this. I’ve also used Nutella and lemon curd, both with amazing results. Sift a bit of powdered sugar on the cooled Nutella to finish. I left off the demerara sugar in the case of the lemon curd, by the way.
3 I’ve also made small tarts, in a mini-muffin pan. To do this: make small balls of dough and push them into non-greased mini-muffin cups. The dough can be thin as it will puff a bit during baking. Drop small spoonfuls of whatever fillings and bake as directed above.
NB: I’ve used vanilla extract in place of the almond extract. I’ve made smaller tarts in some four inch tart pans that I found at TJMaxx, and instead of covering them with more dough I sprinkled the demerara sugar around the edges of the cooked tarts instead. I’ve asked David via email about making this a savory dough and he replied (!) that it would be easy enough: remove most of the sugar from the dough, keeping a bit in so that it will still brown, and add herbs, cracked pepper, whatever, and make a filling with tomatoes, cheese, pesto, capers, wherever imagination takes you.