“Heart of Darkness” Almond Tart
This almond tart is gorgeous, with flaky puff pastry and just-crackling browned almond filling. But it has a “heart of darkness” secret: dark chocolate and raspberry! It has a lot of parts but isn’t as complicated as it seems. The only pieces of special equipment I used were silicone muffin cups (to make removing the tarts easier) and two sizes of cookie cutters with ruffled edges.
3 cups (15 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1½ cups (24 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. ice water
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup almond powder
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp almond extract
Lightly beaten egg white
You can buy prepared puff pastry, but I’ve been a little disappointed lately. I think (obnoxiously) it’s because of my puff pastry experience in France – they have cheap all-butter puff pastry with no additives at every grocery store. Here, I haven’t really been able to find the same thing, especially for a good price. So I’ve been making my own from a recipe from Annie’s Eats. It uses a food processor and has helpful instructions for folding the dough to create the flaky puff pastry layers. The link is here. I make a whole recipe and freeze half.
In a food processor, blend almond powder, sugar and butter until combined. Divide the lightly beaten egg white in half – save or discard one half and add almond extract to the other half. Add this half to the almond mixture and pulse a few times.
Roll out puff pastry to 1/4 inch thick. Using 3.5″ and 1″ cookie cutters, cut out 4-6 rounds of each, depending on how many tarts you want. Lightly press the larger rounds into silicone muffin cups.
In the centre, drop in one large dollop of chocolate sauce then one large dollop of jam, ensuring that your fillings won’t overflow the edges.
Scoop out a heaping tbsp of almond paste and shape into a flat round the size of the inner circle of the puff pastry. Place gently over top of the jam, making sure the almond paste round touches or nearly touches the puff pastry sides – it will expand and puff a bit when baked.
Press one whole almond into each of the small rounds of puff pastry (do this on your hard surface so you can make sure the almond will stick) then place the small round on top of the almond paste.
Bake at 375˚ until the almond paste begins to brown and the puff pastry looks flaky, about 15-20 minutes.
The centre fillings are quite gooey and drippy when warm, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I’m strange, and like all my baked goods cool so I waited about an hour before eating.