I've never really made a tart before. So it was also the first time using my brand new tart pan with a key feature: removable bottom!
I think I was afraid of them because they look so fragile and delicate. It looks like the slightest mistake could cause the tart to snap in half, ruining my hard work.
I only realized the reality after I finished the tart: it's actually a lot EASIER to make than a pie. There's no rolling and fretting about the dough. The tart pan kind of does all the work for you, which is great because I needed all the help I could get!
The fillings for this tart might be new to you, but they are pretty straightforward to make. We'll get to those in a second after we address the crust.
I thought this crust was actually easier to make than pie crust, although I was really worried about it when I started.
You basically combine all your ingredients in a food processor just like a pie crust, but it's not as sticky.
Once the dough is ready, butter your tart pan and press the crust material all along the side of the pan until you have an even layer on the bottom and up the edges.
Lay this on a baking sheet (so you don't accidently hit the removable bottom) and freeze it for 30 minutes. Then line the crust with a piece of foil that's been lightly buttered. Press the foil really tightly against the crust and bake it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes to set the crust.
Then let the crust cool to room temperature before pouring in the filling.
To make the frangipane layer, you need to blanch almonds, which is a fancy word that means boiling them for about a minute. When you remove the almonds from boiling water, rinse them under cold water and rub them together. The shells should just fall off, leaving you with perfectly white almonds.
Toss these in a food processor and pulse them until the almonds are a fine meal.
Next, add the sugar and butter for the frangipane to the food processor and pulse to combine. Once that's smooth, combine the other frangipane ingredients and pulse until really smooth. Then pour this layer into the tart shell.
Bake this at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. The filling will puff up nicely.
Meanwhile, you can make the chocolate layer, which is the easiest layer to make. Just melt the chocolate and cream in a small pan over low heat. Once it's melted, remove from the heat and let it cool for a minute.
Whisk the other chocolate ingredients in a bowl and then slowly whisk in chocolate/cream mixture until smooth.
Pour this over the frangipane layer in your tart and smooth it out nicely.
Return this to the oven to bake for another 20 minutes and you'll be ready to go!
Cool it to room temperature before trying to slice into it.
This recipe, while it looks a bit intimidating, is completely makeable. And it will really wow your guests. The two layers in the tart are not only pretty, but also delicious. If you want to push your dessert boundaries a bit, give this one a shot!
Nick fears no tart now. Follow his quest to conquer all baked goods on his blog, Macheesmo and on his Tablespoon profile.