These tarts are sure to impress. They are simply divine. The frangipane goes wonderfully well with the buttery crust and the treacle-like sweetness from the dates. They are however, extremely high in calories and fat – so I keep the recipe only for special occasions.
They’re easy to make and if you’re stuck for time or a little daunted by making your own sweet-crust pastry, use the store-bought short-crust pastry variety… just promise me not to buy the stuff with nasties in it.
ALMOND & DATE TARTS
Adapted from “Mediterranean: A Taste of the Sun” by Joanna Farrow
For the pastry
- 100 g (⅔ c) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 55 g (¼ c) unsalted butter*
- 2 T icing (confectioners) sugar, or home-ground raw cane/turbinado sugar
- ½ egg
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Milk as required
For the filling
- 90 g (6 T) unsalted butter
- 90 g (⅓ c and 1 ½ T) sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 90 g (⅔ c) ground almonds (almond meal)
- 2 T plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- 30 ml (2 T) orange juice
- 12-13 dates, halved and de-stoned
- 4 T apricot jam (jelly)
* Try to use the best European butter you can find or afford
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Place a baking tray (pan) in the oven.
2. For the pastry, place the flour in to a bowl, add butter and work the mixture into fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg, vanilla to form a smooth dough. If required, add just enough milk to get the dough to come together.
3. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Press each piece into a 10 cm (4 inch) tart tin (pan) to cover the entire base and sides, cutting off any excess using a knife. Prick the base with a fork, cover with cling-film (plastic wrap) for at least 30 minutes.
4. To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the ground almonds, flour and 1 T orange juice, mixing well until incorporated.
5. Divide the mixture into two and spread evenly over the base of the pastry case (pie crust). Arrange the dates cut side down on the almond mixture and bake on the hot baking sheet for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden and set.
6. Transfer the tarts to a wire rack to cool. Gently heat the apricot jam (jelly) and press through a sieve. Add the remaining orange juice and glaze the tart with this mixture. Serve at room temperature, enjoy!