This dessert has become my go-to entertaining-for-a-crowd dessert. It is the perfect two-for-one dessert as the tart only requires egg yolks, which means you are left with six egg whites to whip into meringue. From there you can make a pavlova or individual meringues – whichever you prefer. It’s an economical way to create two desserts out of half a dozen eggs and makes the perfect dessert for a BBQ.
The original recipe for this tart calls for a sweet short crust pastry but as I have had so many failed attempts with this type of pastry, I prefer to stick to my tried and tested (almost fail proof) standard short crust. If you are new to making pastry, give it a go. It is really very easy – just make sure the kitchen is cool before you start. If you really can’t be bothered with making pastry then just buy ready made. Easy.
I have dotted the tart with raspberries but you could use pears, plums, blueberries, apricots…or any other soft fruit that pairs well with almond. (The below recipe is a combination of imperial and metric measurement – I use both as I have digital scales, but feel free to convert either way to suit you).
Almond and Raspberry Tart
160g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
200g ground almonds
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp jam (I used raspberry to go with the fruit on top)
icing sugar for dusting
6 oz plain flour
3 1/2 oz butter, diced and cold
approx. 2 tbsp ice cold water
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Start by making the pastry. In a large bowl add the flour and cold diced butter. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until your mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (be careful not to over-rub or the butter will become too warm and slightly melt which will affect the pastry. Work quickly and lightly in a cold room).
As soon as the mixture is at the fine breadcrumb stage, add 1 tablespoon of ice water and using your hands, start to bring the mixture together adding the second tablespoon of ice water as you go until you have a smooth and slightly elastic dough. As soon as the dough comes together into a ball, wrap it in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until completely chilled.
Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and lightly flour your surface and roll out to fit a 25cm pastry dish. Line with baking paper and place baking weights (or similar) on top and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking weights and paper and cool the pastry case until ready to fill.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks slowly and beat until incorporated. Add the almond meal, pinch of salt and vanilla essence and beat for a further minute until the mixture has fully combined.
On your cooled pastry case, add the jam and spread using the back of a spoon being careful not to tear the pastry. Once the bottom of the pastry case is covered in an even layer of jam, add the almond filling (as the filling is quite thick, I like to add it in heaped spoonfuls dotted around the pastry case and then gently spread it out).
Push your chosen fruit into the almond filling. Don’t worry if they are poking up as they will sink when it cooks.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes of until the almond filling has set (if the top seems to be browning too quickly, then cover with a piece of foil). Once cooled, dust with icing sugar and serve.
You can use the leftover egg whites to make a pavlova or individual meringues. Six egg whites will yield a huge amount of meringue (enough for two medium sized pavlova’s or about 20 individual meringues). *If you don’t want to make that much, then have a look at the bottom for a smaller quantity recipe.
6 egg whites (room temperature)
350g caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
Set the oven temperature to 120°c. In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar a small amount at a time and continue to beat until all the sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks have formed. Add the white vinegar and beat for another minute until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
For pavlova – draw two circles with pencil on baking paper to your desired size and place face down on a baking sheet. Smooth your meringue mixture into a disk using the pencil mark as a guide.
For individual meringues – place baking paper on some baking trays and add spoonfuls of mixture to the tray leaving space between the meringues.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and then turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool for 1 hour before transferring to a wire rack.
Serve with whipped double cream and fruit or decorate as you wish for pavlova.
*For a smaller quantity of meringue, follow the above directions using only 4 egg whites, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of white vinegar. This will produce 12 individual meringues or one pavlova.