I was hesitant about this week’s recipe. I purchased all the ingredients and have had them lined up for about two weeks but I couldn’t bring myself to make it. I’m not sure why. However, when I finally broke down to make the tartlets, I decided to do so on a day I made frosted lavender tea cakes and chocolate mint cookies at the same time. Oh, and a pot of chili as well. What was I thinking? I have no idea…
Anyway, to begin, the sweet tart dough was easy to assemble but I was rather concerned about the lack of liquid used. One egg yolk? It was rather unseemly for me. But, I suppose this is why Dorie described this crust as having a “shortbread texture”. After letting the dough chill for several hours, it was crumbly and didn’t come together that well even after a couple of whacks with the rolling pin. I ended up just semi-rolling out the dough then hand pressing it into the tartlet pans.
And yes, I had to make tartlets after not being able to find an appropriately sized tart pan way back when I made Gérard’s Mustard Tart. The sweet tart dough recipe covered approximately five of my tartlet pans with a bit of pinching and pulling. I tried not to overwork the dough in the tartlet pans so the texture would be preserved. (And it was!)
As for the almond cream, it was absolutely a dream to make and to taste! (Yes, I licked the beaters.) The almond cream was so good that I thought it would be enough by itself in the tartlets. I should also mention here that while I like an orange now and then, I don’t care for them in desserts. However, I absolutely love Mandarin oranges, so I used those instead. Plus, I thought that they would work better size-wise because I was using small pans instead of one large pan.
When I tasted the final dessert with the slices of Mandarin oranges and the oozing almond cream, it blew me away. I loved biting into the citrus fruit in the middle of the cream. It was so delicious and satisfying. And the cookie crust was nice and almond-y! From the look of the final result (and the photos), I think I overbaked the tartlets, not time-wise, but temperature-wise. This was the second of three baked goods I had made that day, and the oven had already been on for awhile when I slid in the tartlets. Additionally, I know that my oven runs hot, so I was already planning on letting the tartlets bake for 40 minutes instead of the 50-60 as the recipe suggests. However, at the 30 minute mark, I could really smell the almond cream through the apartment. Upon opening the oven, I saw that the cream had already bubbled up and over the Mandarin oranges and formed a crust. So, out they came! I think that since I was also using tartlet pans instead of one big pan, there was less room for the cream to bubble and so the Mandarin orange slices were completely covered by the baked cream.
Overall, this dessert was absolutely worth eating, but slightly laborious in its execution. Having to wait one hour, two hours or overnight for the items to “set up” is a downer when this is the type of dessert that is so good you want to eat it immediately! Maybe next time I’ll make a double batch of dough and almond cream so that my next longing for this tart isn’t too far off!Make sure to check out other bloggers’ thoughts and results of this dish at French Fridays with Dorie. As usual, the recipe for this dish can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.