Tuesday, 18 September 2012

None ShowyOffy Armandine Tart.

This is an excellent bake if you’re out to impress but aren’t one for sparklers or cartwheels or ‘look at me’ sandwich boards...or aren’t out to impress one that is. Am I talking nonsense? Default answer...yes....but let me persuade you otherwise...

You see, while this isn’t a 7 layer birthday cake with 2 inches of rainbow icing, glitter and a million candles...it is a version of that, for those who put the taste and texture and heritage of their food before sillyness, trends and showyoffy sparkles.

It’s kind of a technical test (though don't read difficult here); given that it has pastry and the traditional almond cream that pops up in so much French patisserie, which, if passed, will give you kudos amongst those in the foodie know....not those in the know about which colour paste brand gives the best luminous green buttercream to atop St Patrick’s day cupcakes, but those in the know about what tastes darn good and the simple efforts required to get you there.

Gosh I think I might sound awfully worthy...you know, worthy in a butter heavy sense, but I hope you see what I mean; that lovely food is lovely food regardless of bells and whistles and will always remain so. With Love and Cake.

Armandine Tart.
Original recipe from Richard Bertinet's Pastry (which I don't own....but would love to FYI).

A few notes:
  • This is the sort of classic that really requires no twiddles and tweaks...the only one I made (it's an impulse) was the addition of the crunchy sugar on top, ow and used wholemeal flour because I am in procession of a divine local variety...okok I changed more than I thought...only so you don't have to though.
  • I'm afraid that the marzipan liqueur was a gift from a decidedly none-marzipan lover and I wouldn't suggest you hunt some down just for the purpose...feel free to you any liqueur you deem appropriate. Mr Bertinet suggests Poire William pear liqueur, but I think brandy would do...or none at all if that's easiest.
  • A usual I made the pastry in a food processor, it just seems so much more accessible to me that way, but if the opposite is the case for you just use your finger tips to rub in the butter and to bring the dough together.
Serves 8-ish
You will need
an 18cm loose bottomed tart or cake tin, greased and floured

For the pastry
110g plain flour
pinch salt
50g cold butter
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp water

For the filling
75g butter, at room temp
75g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
15g wholemeal flour
1 egg
1/2 tbsp marzipan liqueur (see note)
1 tbsp flaked almonds
1 tsp demerara sugar

  • First lets make the pastry. Pulse together the flour in a food processor (or sift into a bowl).
  • Then add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg yolks and 1 tbsp of cold water and pulse until a soft dough forms, adding 1 more spoonful of water if necessary.
  • Remove the dough from the processor and form gently into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
  • Next, roll the pastry out thinly onto a floured surface. I used the cling film it was wrapped in to cover the pastry as I rolled, to stop the rolling pin sticking which worked well.
  • Line your prepared tin with the pastry, and gently prick the base with a fork and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile we'll make the filling; beat the butter with an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon until nice and soft.
  • Beat in the sugar and almonds and then stir through the flour, egg and liqueur.
  • Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • When everything's had its fridge time trim the excess pastry from the outside of the tin and fill the case with the almond mixture.
  • Scatter the flaked almonds and demerara sugar over the top and bake for 30 minutes until the filling is risen and golden.
  • Be demurely proud.

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