These exquisite tarts are filled with apricot jam and velvety almond cream, a not-too-sweet ground-nut filling often used in French pastries. The tarts are lovely topped with toasted sliced almonds or sweet plums.
I made these tarts for years without jam until a friend mentioned that his European mother made a similar pastry with preserves. Not one to ignore a pastry tip from a European baker, even if it’s second hand, the dollop of jam elevated these pastries to a tart worthy of a fine patisserie.
Makes 24 small (2 1/2-inch) tarts or 12 4-inch tarts
■ 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
■ 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
■ 1 1/4 cup ground almonds
■ 2 large eggs lightly beaten, room temperature
■ 2/3 cup apricot jam
■ 1 recipe for Sweet Tart Dough
■ Almond: 1/2 cup sliced almonds and 1/4 cup powdered (icing) sugar
■ You’ll need 24 2 1/2-inch tart molds, or 12 4-inch tart molds, lined with miniature parchment baking cups. (Or baking cups trimmed to fit the molds.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare the Sweet Tart Dough according to the instructions found here.
Cream together the butter and granulated sugar. Add the ground almonds and eggs and mix until combined. Set aside.
Remove the Sweet Tart Dough from the fridge and place one disk onto a sheet of flour-dusted parchment and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Roll the dough (through the plastic wrap) to approximately 1/8” thick. Repeat with the remaining disk.
Cut or tear circles of dough slightly larger than the molds and transfer to the lined molds, using your fingers to press the dough against the parchment baking cups. Trim the edges, cover and refrigerate at least 45 minutes before baking.
Place the unbaked tarts on a baking tray leaving space between each tart. Spoon about two generous teaspoons of apricot jam into each small mold (about four teaspoons for a 4-inch mold), then cover with about one tablespoon of almond filling (about two tablespoons for a 4-inch mold). Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges have browned, turning the tray once during baking. The larger the tart, the longer the cooking time. The tart filling will puff in the oven, then settle as the tarts cool.
Place the tarts on a wire rack to cool. Dust with sifted icing sugar, if desired, just before serving.
Leftover almond filling can be baked in parchment-lined muffin tins and served with custards or ice cream.
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