It’s hard to believe that we are in the second week of August, and quickly approaching September, one of our busiest months. Before summer fades, we thought we would share Helen’s favorite recipe. This is a French classic, but the almond extract and fresh almonds in the crust also give this a marzipany touch which reminds her of Mom’s cooking from Denmark. It’s a great opportunity to show off farm-fresh berries and a favorite local honey, such as lavender or orange flower. This easy summer recipe make us feel fabulous – bake away!
Summer Berry & Almond Tart
unsalted butter, for greasing the tart pan
8 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 t. pure almond extract
1/8 t. pure vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
1- 1/4 c. plus 1 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T. *very* finely ground blanched almonds
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t. pure almond extract
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
2 T. full-flavored honey (such as Lavender or Orange Flower)
1 T. super-fine cake flour
1-1/2 pounds of fresh berries – blueberries and raspberries in alternating rows are a favorite. Make sure you have enough for 8-10 concentric circles – the berries have to be beautiful!
Confectioners' sugar for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375° .
Butter the bottom and sides of the tart pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and with a wooden spoon, stir to blend. Add the almond and vanilla extracts, salt and flour and stir to form a soft, cookie-like dough. Do not let it form a ball. Transfer the dough to the center of the buttered tart pan (the French style with fluted edges and a removable bottom). Using the tips of your fingers, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The dough will be quite thin. (If using smaller tart pans the instructions are the same).
Prepare the cream: in a medium-size bowl combine the cream, egg, extracts and honey and whisk to blend. Whisk in the flour.
Sprinkle the finely ground almonds on the crust, to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. Carefully pour the cream filling on the top. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the dough is a pale-golden color and the filling has set enough so that it is not runny (a little movement is fine, the filing will set more as it cools). Cooking time is about 10-12 minutesRemove the fluted side to cool, but leave the bottom for easier service. Let cool on a backing rack before you set the berries.
Starting just inside the outer edge, arrange the berries until the tart is full and fabulous. Leave as little space as possible in-between each berry, and work towards the center in concentric circles. Alternating blueberries and raspberries look beautiful. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving. Pair with a favorite sticky wine such as Monbazillac, Moscato d’Asti or a Demi-Sec sparkler. Voila!