ALMOND TART (TARTA DE ALMENDRAS) with Sweet Basque cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 pound shelled almonds (see Note)
- 3 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- Sweet Basque Cream
- confectioners' sugar
- SWEET BASQUE CREAM
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- I tablespoon vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a lO-inch pie
plate. In a blender, blend the sugar and lemon zest until they are well
mixed. Add the almonds, and blend again until the almonds are ground fine. Add the eggs, egg yolks, and butter, and blend until all the contents are well mixed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the pan, and smooth the top. Bake the tart
on the center rack of the oven for about 30 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean but the tart is still moist. Let it cool on a wire rack .
Spoon Sweet Basque Cream onto each plate, and set a tart
wedge on top. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, and serve.
Note: Almonds, easy to find in any supermarket, are most commonly sold raw or blanched. Buy raw almonds, if possible.
SWEET BASQUE CREAM
In a saucepan, combine the cream and cinnamon sticks; and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until the cream is well infused with the cinnamon. Set the pan aside so the cream can cool.
In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until they are well mixed. Add the cream and cinnamon sticks and whisk well. Heat 1 to 2 inches of water in the bottom pan of a double boiler and transfer custard mixture to the top pan, or set the bowl over a saucepan containing 1 to 2 inches of hot water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the sauce, stirring
constantly for about 30 minutes or until it thickens, adding more hot water to the bottom pan if necessary. Remove the top pan or the bowl from over the hot water, and let the custard
cool. Strain the cooled custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass
or ceramic container, and refrigerate the natillas for at least 4 hours until it is cool. Stir before serving, adding a little more heavy cream if necessary to smooth the natillas. Divide it among six custard cups or transfer it to a pitcher to use as a sauce. Serve the natillas sprinkled with cinnamon. Because you will be grinding the nuts, it doesn't matter whether they're whole or sliced when you buy them.