Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's amazing to think that 365 days have already flown by since I've started this blog. It's true, tomorrow Black Cat Bakery will celebrate it's one year anniversary! The past 12 months have been fun, at times frustrating, but definitely rewarding. I feel like I've really come into my own as a baker and I can't wait to see what another year will bring!

When I was thinking of what I'd like to highlight this month, I instantly thought about tarts. I love tarts. I actually like to collect tart recipes. They're such a simple dessert but they're extremely elegant when done right. Below, is a recipe I came across a couple days ago. I've made a few tweaks, including adding almond flour, cutting down on the sugar and increasing the almond extract. Those tiny additions, I think, make a huge difference in the overall flavor of the tart. As always, enjoy, and don't forget to get a little creative when you're assembling your tart! Remember, Food is art too!

Strawberry Almond Tart
(Adapted from Cooking Light.com)

18 honey Graham Crackers
Almond flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
3-4 Tbsp melted Butter

Filling-
2/3 cup room-temp Mascarpone
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 tsp Almond extract

Topping-
5 cups fresh Strawberries
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
Splash Lemon juice
Sliced almonds

Begin by preparing the crust. Grind up the graham crackers until they are a fine, crumbly consistency. Pour them into a bowl and add about the same amount of almond flour. Melt butter. Stir into crumbs along with sugar. Press into bottom and sides of a greased 9" removable-bottom tart pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

While the crust is cooling, start preparing the filling. In a large bowl, whip together the cream cheese, sugar and two extracts. It should be velvety smooth. No lumps. Spread the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the tart shell.

Place 3 cups of the strawberries in a food processor. Grind until pureed. Heat the puree in a small saucepan along with the lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Make sure to get rid of any lumps. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally.

Arrange 2 other cups of strawberries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over the filling. Spoon the glaze evenly over the berries. Sprinkle nuts around the edge. If you'd like to decorate your tart like I did in the picture, cut up and assemble the strawberries in a circular pattern and then stick nuts around the inside of the crust and the strawberry circle. Once you're finished, let the tart chill for 3 hours.

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