It could've been, but it's just not..
Well, since I've been unsuccessful at dieting (you are right, mel ^^ I'll do it after cny ^^.. maybe!), and I do so miss eating.. I mean, baking!, I decided to reward myself with an almond tart, which I've had my eye on for a while ^^.. unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out the way it should..
Chez Panisse Almond Tart (recipe from the fab david lebovitz)
1 cup / 140g flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup / 115g chilled unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
1 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract (I omitted since I didn't have any ^^||)
1. Mix flour and sugar in a mixer, processor or by hand. Add in chilled butter and mix till it resembles fine crumbs. Then add water and mix till the dough comes together.
2. Press into a flat disk, wrap in plastic/cling wrap and chill thoroughly. I skipped this step and went ahead with step 3 and 4.
3. Put pastry in a greased 9 or 10-inch tart pan by pressing with hand, after letting the dough come to room temperature.
4. Chill the dough thoroughly in the freezer before use.
5. Bake in a preheated oven of 375F / 190C for 20-30 minutes. If there are holes in the shell, patch with leftover dough.
1 cup / 250ml heavy cream (if I make this again, I will only use 200ml!!!)
1 cup / 200g sugar (I used slightly less)
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup / 80g sliced almonds (I toasted them before use ^^)
1/8 tsp almond extract (I omitted)
2 tsp Grand Marnier or Amaretto (I omitted)
1. Heat the cream, sugar and salt in a big pot (at least 4L) until it comes to a boil. Continue cooking till it starts to foam up, then remove from heat and stir in the sliced almonds, almond extract and the liquor. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes.
2. Spread the filling evenly onto the shell. And bake at 190C (or 200C?).
3. After 10 minutes, check the tart. Using a heatproof spatula, tap and break the surface of the tart. Continue checking every 5-8 minutes and break up any dry crust forming on the surface. Stop tapping when it begins to caramelize. Tapping is very tiring and hot! Read david lebovitz's very detailed instructions here.
4. Remove tart from oven when the filling is the color of coffee with the slightest bits of cream in it (not big pockets of white filling!), about 30 minutes. I really didn't get the 30 minutes part (??!!) as I was tapping away at imaginary dry bits for almost 20 minutes and the filling was only just about to caramelize at the sides.. I finally took the tart out of the oven after baking for a total of 1 hour.
** Best served when cooled.. shared with lots of family and friends ^^
Alas, my almond tart looks nothing like david's! ^^|| The filling had too much caramelized cream and the sliced almonds practically drowned in them, creating 2 layers in this tart. Nothing like the crisp almond tart in david's pics. Sigh!
Anyway, expecting the worse, I found the tart very good actually ^^. I love the very buttery crust, but beware, it's very crumbly (ok, I might have been too impatient and started to cut the tart while it was still pretty warm ^^ it's much easier and firmer to slice when cooled ^^). The sweet, caramel-y sticky chewy toffee filling was exceptional!!! ^^
Big and baby pig went "mmm.. mmm.. mmm.. mmm.. mmmm.. it's GOOD!" *one thumbs-up 'cos the other was holding on to a piece of tart* ^^ Fatty hubby loves it too.. especially with a cup of coffee. Guess, this didn't turn out too badly at all. ^^
|a cross section of my sliced almond tart ~ after I've taken a bite or two ^^|
So I wasn't completely honest about saving tummy space for CNY goodies.. ^^ hey, it's just a tiny wedge! ^^
p.s. this is a seriously decadently GOOD tart.. a happy tart ^^ not so good for the arteries or the waistline though! so I highly recommend that you plan ahead to share with lots of people! ^^