Monday, September 24, 2012

Rum Raisin Almond Tart

The other day I had a craving for Rum Raisin ice cream.  I am not a big fan of raisins but for some reason I really like the ice cream.  Off I went to the store to get some to squelch the craving. Nowhere to be found, so I asked around.  No one had ever heard of the stuff.  You would have thought I was asking for a piece of the moon with sprinkles on top!

Now I had to head back home, still carrying the same craving as I had started with.  Well, that just would not do.  So I went about looking for recipes and landed on this particular one.  It was not ice cream, but it sure did get rid of the craving.  Also, it had just enough raisins to add some flavor but not be overwhelming.

To me, the recipe is really something unique.  It is almost like a almond pie but with an occasional pop of flavor from the rum soaked raisins.  Also, the sweet pastry dough could just as well be sugar cookie batter.  The recipe does have a few components. Yet once those are made, the dessert comes together quickly and easily. The first component does require that this recipe should be started the night before to serve the next day.

Rum Raisin Almond Tart
adapted from Simply Sensational Desserts

Sweet Tart Dough (actually enough for two tarts)
9 tbs butter, softened
1 3/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 cup plus 1 tbs powdered sugar
1 large egg

Almond Cream Filling
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dark rum
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup and 1 tbs butter, softened
1 egg yolk
2 large eggs
1 tbs flour

1/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tbs rum
3 tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp water

Place the raisins and 1/4 cup rum in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let soak overnight.

The next day, start on the dough by placing sugar, flour and salt in a sifter.  Sift ingredients into a medium size bowl and set aside.  Take out a food processor and fill with the butter.  Process butter for about 20 seconds or until smooth.  Pour in the sifted ingredients and add the egg.  Process mixture again until it turns into a dough and lumps up into a ball inside the bowl.  Divide the dough in half and flatten each into a disk.  Cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 2 hours.

During the chilling time, the filling can be prepared.  Use the food processor again, grind the almonds with 1/4 cup of sugar.  It should take about a minute to grind the almonds into fine bits. Set aside.

Fill a bowl of a stand mixer with the remaining cup of sugar and add the butter.  Beat for about one minute on high.  Pour in the ground almonds and beat for another minute on low.  Then add the egg yolk and beat for 30 seconds.  Repeat the same process for each egg.  After this, beat the mixture for 3 more minutes and scrape down sides of bowl at one minute intervals.   Lastly, sprinkle the flour on top of the batter and use a wooden spoon to fold it in.  Once all is blended, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  After the dough has chilled, take out one disc and roll out on a floured surface. You can seal and freeze the other dough disk for future use. The rolled disk should be 1/8 inch thick and the size of a 10X20 inch rectangle. Using a 9 inch tart ring or 9 inch ring from a springform pan, place on the dough and cut around to form a circle.  Make two circles.  Place one on a baking sheet by itself.  Place the ring on the other baking sheet and put the dough circle inside the bottom.

Take the almond cream mixture from the fridge.  Then drain the raisins from the rum and fold the raisins into the almond cream batter. Spoon the mixture into the dough lined ring and smooth the top so all is even.

Place baking sheet with dough disk on top rack in oven and tart filled one on the next lower rack.  Once the dough disk has a golden brown edge, it is done baking.  This should take about 15-17 minutes.  Remove and place pan on cooling rack.  The tart round should continue to bake until tester comes out clean.  This should take 18-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place it on a cooling rack as well.

Brush the two tablespoons of rum over the top with a pastry brush while still hot out of the oven.  Then take the apricot preserves and microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Remove and pour into a sieve placed over a small bowl.  Use the pastry brush again and brush the strained apricot over the top of the tart.

Place the plain tart round over the top.  Should it not fit correctly into the pan, shave the edges with a paring knife until it fits inside the pan on top of the tart.

Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl and add the water, mixing until all is smooth.  In order to get the correct consistency, you may have to add additional water.  Pour glaze over the top of the tart and smooth out evenly by using the back of a spoon.  Then  place back in the oven for about 5 minutes.  This should result in an opaque center and clear edges on the top.

Cool and remove the tart ring when ready to cut and serve.
                                  **LAST YEAR: B52 Cookies***