Lindsey Shere’s Almond Tart
By Chef John Ash
Lindsey Shere is a legendary pastry chef in California and this tart became a signature dessert. Adapted from Lindsey’s original recipe and tweaks by David Lebovitz.
This tart is best eaten with the fingers; it is too hard to cut easily with a fork. It is a good picnic dessert because it is virtually indestructible.
Difficulty Level Medium
3/4 C Whipping cream
3/4 C Sugar
2 tsp Orange liquer
1 C Sliced almonds (blanched or unblanched)
One 9-inch unbaked short crust tart shell
1 C All purpose flour
1 tbs Sugar
1/2 C Butter, not too cold
1 tbs Water
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Drops Almond extract
Bake the shell in a removable-rim tart pan in a preheated 375° F oven until the shell golden brown all over, about 20 minutes. It should be fully baked because the pastry will not bake much more once it is filled.
Mix cream, sugar, and liqueur in a large saucepan (it should have enough room for the mixture to triple in volume, just in case it bubbles up quickly), stirring well. Heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, mix in the almonds, and let the mixture stand about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, patch the dough if necessary. Smooth a small piece of very soft dough gently over any crack that looks like it goes all the way through the shell. Be careful not to break through the crisp top of the baked crust if you can avoid it.
Fill the shell with the still warm filling, which will be quite liquid. Make sure the almonds float evenly in the filling. If they are gathered on the top of the liquid mixture, the finished tart will have a cornflake-like texture instead of the glossy surface you want.
Set the tart into a preheated 400° F oven, the bottom of which has been lined with aluminum foil, dull side up—the tart may bubble over. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is a nice shade of creamy-and-russet caramel; remember that it will continue to brown a little more when you take it out of the oven.
Cool the tart on a rack, loosening the sides of the pan slightly every minute or two for 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Then remove the tart from the pan and return it to the rack to cool. If you remove the ring of the pan too soon the sides will fall off the tart.
If you want to remove the tart from the bottom of its pan, carefully slide a thin knife between pastry and pan while the tart is still warm, 15-20 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Then lift the tart off the bottom of the pan with a wide spatula and return it to the rack to finish cooling. This tart is best eaten with the fingers; it is too hard to cut easily with a fork.
One 9-inch unbaked short crust tart shell Mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch slices and work it into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is in cornmeal sized pieces and the mixture is beginning to hold together—the softer your butter is, the faster this will happen.
Combine the water, vanilla, and almond extract and work it into the flour-butter mixture just until the pastry is blended and will hold together if you press it. Gather it into a ball and wrap it in plastic. Let it rest for 30 minutes so the flour will absorb the moisture more completely. You can also wrap the pastry in foil and freeze for up to a month.
Press the pastry into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable rim, making sure that you have a layer of even thickness over the bottom and the sides. Before baking, set the shell in the freezer for 30 minutes or overnight, wrapped in foil. You don’t need to fill the shell with beans before baking: this pastry doesn’t shrink much.