Most of us will have heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but may not think of it in terms of food. Well, this Italian Almond Tart makes me think of exactly that. It is nothing much to look at – it is all very beige and there is no lovely sauce or chocolate dripping down the sides to make us drool. A real plain Jane! Until, that is you cut into it and serve yourself a deliciously moist and fragrant slice to go with your afternoon tea. It is so good that I made one the very next day for my hubby to take into work and everybody loved it. I made my own almond paste and I would highly recommend that you try this at least once. It is so easy to make, it’s fresh and full of flavour and will make all the difference to your tart. Your choice of jam will also play a big part in how your finished tart tastes. For my first attempt I used a cherry jam which had whole cherries in it. It was quite sweet and I wasn’t overly enthused by the chunks of cherry. For my second attempt I used a smooth Christmas spice fruit jam and I thought this was much better.
The recipe for this Italian almond tart was chosen by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, for the Bake Along challenge which she runs with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings. The original recipe is from Williams-Sonoma and was chosen because it had so many good reviews. A very good choice Zoe and one that I will be making again and again.
For those of you who are interested in how I decorated the tart – yes I did stand and pick out all the whole slices of almonds from a pack and yes it did take me a long time to place them all so neatly round the entire tart and yes I am completely mad! I also made a rose from some of the left over almond paste. I only placed it on the tart 10 minutes before the tart was due to come out the oven to crisp it up a bit and give it some colour.
I hope you give this one a go.
- 1 x 9½ inch (19cm) sweet shortcrust pastry case which has been baked blind recipe.
- 115g butter, at room temperature
- 225g almond paste, cut into 1 inch cubes recipe
- 55g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 50g plain flour
- 300g raspberry, plum or cherry jam
- 50g sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add the almond paste and beat until smooth.
- While continuing to beat, sprinkle in the sugar.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in the flour and set to one side.
- Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the baked pastry case.
- Spoon the almond paste mixture over the top of the jam and spread out evenly.
- Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sliced almonds
- Bake the tart until the filling is golden and the middle is firm to the touch, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely.
- Serve at room temperature.