Roman Almond & Pine Nut Tart

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes one 10- or 11 inch 25- or 28 cm ) tart, about

    10

    servings

Appears in

Tarts like this are available in one form or another in many pastry shops in southern Italy. This one was inspired by a tart I tasted in the late 1980s at Giolitti, an elegant Roman pastry shop mostly known for its exquisite gelati. Though the Roman version is baked in a deeper pan, I like to use a tart pan with a removable bottom. That way the tart is only 1 inch ( cm) high, about half the size of a typical Roman one, but it conveys the flavor and texture of the filling perfectly without being cloying.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup/225 grams) canned almond paste, cut into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • One 10- or 11-inch (25- or 28-cm) tart crust, unbaked, made from Sweet Tart Dough
  • ½ cup pine nuts (pignoli)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for finishing

Method

  1. Set a rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Combine the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed with the paddle until the mixture is reduced to fine crumbs, about 2 minutes. Add one of the eggs and continue beating until the mixture turns into a heavy paste.
  3. Beat in the butter until it is completely incorporated. Stop and scrape down the bowl and paddles. Beat in the second egg, then the egg yolks, beating until smooth after each addition. Stop and scrape down the bowl and paddles.
  4. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest, followed by the flour, only beating until it is incorporated.
  5. Use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the filling and scrape it into the prepared pastry crust. Use a small offset metal spatula to spread the filling evenly in the crust.
  6. Scatter the pine nuts all over the almond filling, gently pressing them with the palm of your hand to make them adhere.
  7. Bake the tart until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and well colored, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the tart on a rack.

Serving

Unmold the tart and slide it onto a platter. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving. This is better served as a tea pastry rather than a dessert.

Storage

Keep the tart at room temperature wrapped in plastic. It will start to become dry after a couple of days.