I love this sort of recipe - homey and a little bit old-fashioned. The type of thing that doesn't take too long to whip up but looks and tastes absolutely delicious. A good thing too because I didn't get around to making it until tonight!
I used chunky black cherry jam and a little less almond essence than the recipe said. We served it with big dollops of thick custard, but cream or icecream would work well too.
The taste test ...
I was a little worried about the tart being too almond-y because while we love almonds both N and I hate amaretto. I left out the almond essence in the pastry and used only 1/4ts in the frangipane and that amount was spot on for us. The cherry jam was the perfect complement to the other flavours. My only complaint would be that the pastry didn't cook through properly. I was surprised the recipe didn't call for it to be blind baked. It also took longer to cook than stated but I blame that on our dodgy oven. All in all, a tasty end to our dinner!
Sweet shortcrust pastry :
225g plain flour
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g unsalted butter, cold
2 egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g icing sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g ground almonds
30g all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Roll out the pastry to line a 23cm tart tin. Trim the excess pastry then place in the freezer for 15 minutes. As soon as you remove it, spread the base with 250ml of jam or curd of your choice. Top with frangipane and bake for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, remove it from the oven and top with a handful of flaked almonds, then return to the oven for the last five minutes of baking. Allow to cool slightly before serving (you want warm not hot).