Wow, this is a big Friday for me. French Fridays with Dorie, and Frosting for the Cause in the same day. I’ll start with Frosting for the Cause. Back in January, I started noticing this lovely frosting for the cause button on some of the blogs I follow. You can find the button on my blog, on the right hand side. I loved the concept, and decided to sign up. This is how the program works: the site features 1 new blogger each day, for 365 days in 2011. Each blogger shares a recipe for a frosted cookie or cupcake. They also share a story about cancer, and how it has made a difference in their lives. The blogger bakes up a batch of their recipe and shares it was a local agency (women’s hospice center, cancer center, etc.) and many bloggers (like me) are also sharing a batch with their tribute person. Then, each blogger is donating $25 to the cancer agency of their choice. When 2011 ends, the website will have donated at least $9,125 to cancer research, and hopefully touched the lives of many in a positive way.
So today is my day, and you can check out my post. I chose to make gluten-free cookies with egg free/gluten free royal icing for my sister Jackie, who has Celiac disease and breast cancer. This was a challenge for my gluten-heavy kitchen, but very rewarding, because I knew every moment I was doing it out of love.
I also dedicated my blog post to the women of Peoria, IL – who taught me what it meant to live the fight against breast cancer year round. I went to college in Peoria, and I’ve traveled back several times since graduation to be a part of their amazing Race for the Cure event each year.
I encourage everyone visiting my blog today to please visit this wonderful site, and consider signing up; I know they’re still recruiting bakers.
French Fridays with Dorie is a group of bloggers that makes the same recipe each week out of Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
We don’t share the recipe, to encourage use of the printed word. But Amazon sells the cookbook at an affordable price, or you can always do what I do with many new cookbooks – check it out at the library first to see if you like the recipes.
This week’s recipe was the Orange-Almond Tart. I simply drooled over the photo from the cookbook; you can see it on the FFwD site.
The first step was to make the sweet tart dough. The dough came together easily, thanks to the food processor. I don’t have a tart pan, so I chose to use a glass pie pan. I blind baked it as directed.
The almond cream also came together with the help of my food processor. I used almond meal that I picked up at Trader Joe’s for less than $4. There was a second when this was going to become a hazelnut tart, because I had leftover hazelnut flour, and didn’t want to pay the $12 for a tiny bag of almond flour from my local grocer. TJ’s saves the day again! When the almond cream was done I gave it a taste (I know, raw eggs, but I live on the wild side when it comes to baking) and the almond cream tasted great. If it wasn’t for the raw egg, I would’ve taken a spoon to it right then.
I only let the cream chill for about an hour, when Dorie recommends 2 hours. It filled the pan fairly well. I had cut my oranges hours before, leaving them plenty of time to dry out. I arranged them in a simple sunburst pattern, and popped the tart into the oven.
The book said to bake 50-60 minutes, so I turned the timer on for 45 and left my kitchen to watch some TV. About 30 minutes later I smelled burning and rushed to my oven. The tart was done, the crust a dark brown, the almond cream puffed up and also a dark brown. I think the cook time was way too long for the pre-baked shell, in my climate, in a glass pan. I put the pan on a cooling rack where it would have plenty of air to help cool it, but I could hear the cream crackling as it cooked from the heat still contained in the tart.
When it had finally cooled, I was able to salvage all of the insides; it was just the outer crust that was inedible. I’m glad I hadn’t planned to serve this for company, as it wasn’t pretty to eat. But it tasted amazing!
When I first tried it, I couldn’t put my finger on the taste. When I had a serving the next day, I figured out what it reminded me of – St. Louis gooey butter cake. With a prebaked bottom layer, a gooey middle layer, and a crunchy sugar top, it was just like the classic St. Louis dessert, gooey butter cake. My husband agreed, it tasted like gooey butter cake. So I’m definitely going to make this again. I want to try to do it without burning it, and to confirm that a french almond tart and gooey butter cake have a lot in common in the taste arena.
To see more versions of this tart, check out French Fridays with Dorie, and consider joining in the fun.