Almond Custard Tarts

We’ve been eating a lot of salads lately thanks to the Athenos project, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. With all the salty feta and healthy salads, I was definitely craving a sweet treat this week. My only problem was finding the time to make it. Madeline was sick with a cold for a couple days and needed extra snuggles on the couch. She is in a very active stage right now where she’d rather be playing that cuddling, eating, having her hair brushed, pretty much anything that requires her to be still. So it was a nice treat for me (is it wrong to complete this sentence?) that she was feeling bad enough to slow down a for a change.

blueberriesinbucket

playing around with a 100mm f/2.8 lens I’m renting right now

She’s been incredibly busy lately, often taking advanatage of the slightest distraction on my part to create disasters, thought I’m sure she views these disasters as just creative fun. This often involves markers, food coloring, sprinkles, toothpaste, sunscreen, and vaseline. Her method of choice usually involves some combination of rubbing one or more of these products all over her body, hair, hands, face. And just an FYI: green food coloring is most definitely not hand lotion. At least not according to me.

almondcustardtartwithblueberries

So I didn’t really have any particular dessert in mind, but I had been going through some magazines recently and came across this recipe for Almond Custard Tartsthat I had marked a little bit ago. As it turned out blueberries were on sale for 77 cents and I thought they’d go quite nicely with the tarts.

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Originally, the recipe made just one full sized tarts, but I always think the mini versions are so much cuter. The recipe instructions also have you put the almond custard back in the tart crust and then bake it, but I wasn’t really in the mood for that so I decided to bake the tart crust alone. Then, I cooled the crusts and spooned the chilled custard into them. Perfect for dessert on a hot evening.

almondcustardtart

Almond Custard Tarts

Yield: 5 four inch tarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Crunchy almond crusts are filled with creamy almond custard. Top with fresh fruit of your choice!

Ingredients:

Tart Dough:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Almond Custard:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter with the turbinado and granulated sugars, the almonds and the egg and beat at medium-low speed until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and lemon zest and beat just until a soft dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and flatten it into a disk. Refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer with the lemon zest. In a medium, heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and flour. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and almond extract (if lumps form, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth). Pour the custard into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until chilled, 1-2 hours.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the tart dough out to a 13-inch round, 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 5 - 7 inch rounds, re-rolling the scraps as necessary. Ease the rounds into 5 - 4 inch tart pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tarts are lightly golden and tender. Cool on a wire rack in the tart pans until room temperature.

To assemble tarts (just prior to serving): Spread the cooled custard into the tart shells. Top each with 1/4 cup of fresh berries and serve.

Notes:

I used blueberries, but raspberries, strawberries, or sliced peaches would pair nicely.

adapted from Food & Wine