Sunday, June 8, 2014
The filling is just a layer of store bought jam, so there's nothing amazing about that, but the crust is quite remarkable.
3/4 cups butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour (about 200 grams)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
optional: 1/3 cup marzipan
Pre heat the oven to 350.
Cream the butter & sugar with the salt & almond extract until the mixture is fluffy and light colored and the sugar grains are dissolved. Gently mix in the flour. Put 1/2 cup of the dough in a bowl in the freezer to stiffen up. Press the rest of the pastry into a tart pan; be sure to make the crust as even a thickness as possible. Spread a thin layer of jam over the crust. Take the reserved crust out of the freezer. If you're using marzipan, use a pastry cutter to combine it slightly with the reserved dough. Break the mixture into crumbs and sprinkle it over the jam, then add a few almond slices. Bake until the crust is lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes.
1. I over cooked mine. I didn't want it as brown as the picture. It was also a smidge tough.
2. The original recipe says to use a 9" pan. Mine is bigger than that, which is why I decided to use a little marzipan in the topping to spread it out a little.
3. Real butter. Not margarine. Not shortening.
4. Do not skimp during the part about 'cream butter & sugar until fluffy'. This is all-important!
5. I used blackberry jam, but I bet it would be really good with marmalade, or figs, or plum jam.
This crust is both amazing and very strange. Essentially what you do is make a buttercream frosting, then mix in enough flour to make a kind of heavy spackle which you then coat the inside of your pan with. Conventional pastry has a tendency to shrink and toughen when it is cooked, but this stuff does not shrink, and at least when it isn't overcooked, stays tender and shortbready. I suspect that the reason for the lack of shrinkage is the fact that when you cream the butter & sugar, what you're doing is whipping minute bubbles into the fat. It takes quite a long time if you do this by hand, but the result is unlike anything else. The air bubbles expand in the oven, and since there is no added liquid in the recipe to evaporate out and cause shrinking, the crust retains its size and shape as it solidifies.
I used this crust recipe for a quarkkuchen a little later, with a little vanilla and lemon zest, and it was fantastic.