One of the best things I learnt in Le Cordon Bleu was Tarts and Pies. I absolutely love the concept of a fruit filling in crisp, flaky crusts and topped with cream or meringue. The rolled out pastry dough can be a bit tricky and needs some practice, but this pressed-in crusts are very easy to work with. Just mix the ingredients into a dough and press in into a tart pan.
This almond pastry is baked blind to a crisp biscuit like consistency and then filled with strawberries. You can replace it with any fruit you like say apples, mangoes, canned blueberry etc. If you don’t like the meringue topping , it’s beautiful though – soft and pillowy, you can top it with whipping cream and skip the last step of baking the meringue.
This recipe has been adapted from a book called Desserts which I had picked up at a flea market, many years back.
Strawberry Meringue Tart in an almond pastry
What you will need :
For the almond pastry :
- 2/3 cup butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks, beaten
- 1 cup (about 100 grams) finely ground and sieved almonds
- 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced or chopped (about 400 grams)
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
Meringue topping :
- 4 egg whites
- 2/3 cup castor sugar
What to do :
- Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch tart and a 5 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- To prepare the pastry, combine all the ingredients in a food processor or a mixer and process to form a stiff dough.
- Remove it on a plate and knead a couple of times till it all comes together.
- Firmly press it at the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Prick it all over with a fork and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Pr-heat oven to 170C and bake it for 20-25 minutes until form and golden. let it cool completely.
- To prepare the meringue, beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form. Gently beat in castor sugar.
- Combine strawberries and castor sugar.
- Now once the tart shell is completely cooled, pile spoonfuls of meringue on the edges of the tart. Fill the centre with the strawberry mixture. Now pile the remaining meringue on the top of the strawberries.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 220C for 10-15 minutes, till the crust is firm and the top of meringue is browned.
- If you are worried about the egg whites staying undercooked, you can bake it for another 5 minutes, till it get firmer.
- I have used unbalanced almonds, directly powdered in the mixture. I prefer the nuttiness of un-blanched almonds.
- I used a 9 inch shallow tart pan and a 5 inch smaller pan because I had leftover pastry. If you have a deeper pan, it will all fit into a 9 inch pan.