Monday, September 29, 2008

A Clean-Out-The Cabinet Tart for Erika's Birthday

My friend Erika at work is awesome. She NEVER forgets my birthday. In the 9 years I have been with this company, she is the only person in my office who always remembers it and always tries to do something about it. (I forgive her for the one year she missed it when she was 6 months pregnant with her twins.) Sometimes she'll buy me a special dessert from the fancy bakery. Sometimes she'll bake something for me. Sometimes she'll even take me to lunch. Whatever the case, I can always rely on her for some kind of observation. Sadly, I don't get that from too many others I work with.

Her birthday is Thursday and she works from home most days since her twins were born, so I decided to make sure she had a special treat on the one day I know she is in the office. She deserves something in return for never forgetting my day.

It's apple season! It's time to start making the pies and tarts. I think apples and almonds rock together, so I also decided it was time to use up some more of that excess almond meal in the cabinet. I came up with an idea for a tart that would use the best of the season's fruits as well as almonds.

My invention was an Apple Almond Tart with a crust made from ground almonds and the apples would be topped with almond slices and amaretto. I'm always a little wary of making my own baking recipes, but this one was pretty good.

I love this gadget.

You know how some people artfully place their apple slices into their tarts? I'm not one of those people.
The finished product, booze and almond topped. The crust could have been a little less soggy, but otherwise, I thought it was pretty good.

Apple Almond Tart

1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbl sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 Tbl cold water

Apple filling
2 pounds tart, firm apples
1 good shake ground cinnamon
2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup fruit-only apricot preserves
1/4 cup amaretto
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, almond meal, salt, and sugar until mixed. Add butter and pulse until it looks like course crumbs. Add water and pulse until dough begins to hold together. Gather into a ball and flatten into a dish. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile heat oven to 400 degrees and prepare apples. Peel core and slice the apples and toss with cinnamon, sugar, and almond extract.

Roll out dough and place in a 9" tart pan. Pile apples into shell. Be artistic if you would like to, but you can be rustic.

Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Heat preserves and amaretto together until smooth and thick. Cool slightly and spread over apples in tart. Press the sliced almonds on top.

Slice and enjoy.


noble pig said...

And she is lucky to have you as a friend! It looks beautiful!

Emiline said...

Gorgeous! She'll love it.

Apple pies are difficult. I've never baked a perfect one.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Cathy - Thanks.

Em - Do you know the older I get, the worse my apple pies are? I used to do them really well, but lately they have disappointed. I plan to at least try a traditional apple pie once this year and use every tip and trick anyone has ever told me. King Arthur sells a couple of different thickeners that I think I may try for consistency's sake.

Dee said...

You have an apple peeler? That's cool, I love gadgets but there's barely enough room for me, as it is.

Your tart looks pretty fine to me! And I would love to be on the receiving end :) Have you tried baking the shell before filling it?

CECIL said...

That just looks amazing!! I don't mind having a slice or two..or three of it. :)