When planning a menu, I usually don't have a problem coming up with the appetizer, main dishes, sides, or salads. My dilemma is the dessert. Not that I can't think of one, but there are just so many that I want to try. This dessert has been on my radar for quite some time now and it finally worked its way into my kitchen. My only regret was waiting this long.
Like the Raspberry Crumb Bars, this is a dessert with simple ingredients that produces spectacular results. One would think that with the almond paste there would be an essence of maraschino cherry or heavy almond extract (both of which I do not care for), but the results yield the contrary. The almond paste lends a sweet, nutty taste that matches perfectly with the raspberry preserves. I added of a bit of lemon zest in the filling which makes the tart just sing. The crisp crust, the jammy preserves, and the cake-like filling all add up to one incredibly delicious package. You can certainly serve the tart as is, but whipping up a batch of lightly sweetened chantilly cream really adds another texture and flavor.
I have to be honest, this tart was so good that I even said out loud that if I couldn't have chocolate anymore (scary thought), then I would be o.k. as long as I had this tart. It would be perfect to serve at any time of year, but I think it would be well received if this tart was on your menu this coming weekend for those spring celebrations.
Italian Almond Raspberry Tart
makes one 9 1/2-inch tart
For the Tart Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
9 tablespoons (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 extra large egg
For the Filling
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1-8 ounce can almond paste, broken into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
1/3 cup sliced almonds
For the Tart Dough
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse until combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour. Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas. Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has started to clump. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the surface. Using the plastic wrap and the back of your hands, gently press the dough into a disk. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If refrigerated overnight, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit the dough into the edge of the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough (let the kids practice their baking skills with the scraps). Place the tart onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Line the tart pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Place on a rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350º F.
For the Filling
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the almond paste, one piece at a time, beating well after each addition. While mixing, gradually add the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest and salt. Stir in the flour until completely combined.
Using an off-set spatula, spread the preserves evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Place spoonful dollops of the filling over the preserves and gently spread to completely cover the preserves. Sprinkle the top of the tart with the sliced almonds. Bake until the filling is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 35-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Carefully remove the side of the tart pan and slide the tart onto a serving platter. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma