From DUCASSE: Flavors of France by Alain Ducasse with Linda Dannenberg. See my review of this thrilling cookbook.
Strawberry Tart with Almond Cream
Tarte aux Fraises, Créme d’Amande
Late spring and early summer, when the flourishing strawberry plants in the Bastide’s potager greet every morning with a new crop of just-ripened berries, there is no better dessert than this tart flavored with almonds plucked from the almond trees that also grow in the garden. The crust with its almond cream filling can be baked several hours ahead, and the strawberries arranged on top about an hour before serving.
For the almond cream:
To finish the tart:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
To make the almond cream:
Combine the butter, ground almonds, sugar, flour, and egg in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
To bake the tart:
Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe the almond cream in a spiral over the bottom of the chilled tart shell, starting in the center and covering it completely. Or use a spatula to spread the almond cream evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is lightly browned. Transfer the tart to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the sides of the pan, then let cool completely on the wire rack.
To serve, spread a thin layer of strawberry jam over the almond cream.
Working from the edges of the tart inward, arrange the strawberries, cut
sides down and points toward the center, in concentric circles over the
jam. Sprinkle the tart with the confectioners' sugar and serve.
Rich Sugar Pastry
Makes enough dough for one 9-1/2- to 11-inch tart, six 4-inch tarts,
or eight 3-inch tarts
To make the dough by hand:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, baking powder, if using, and salt. Mix well. Add the soft butter and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball.
To make the dough using a food processor:
Combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, eggs, and baking powder, if using, and the salt in the bowl of the processor and process until well blended, 5 to 7 seconds. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and process until the dough just holds together. It should be soft and pliable but not sticky; if it seems sticky, add up to 2 more tablespoons of flour and process for a few seconds until blended.
Gather the dough into a ball. Press into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
To make one large tart shell:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and trim off the excess. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
To make individual tart shells:
For 3-inch tart shells, divide the dough into eight pieces; for 4-inch tart shells, divide the dough into six pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece to a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into eight 3-inch or six 4-inch fluted tart pans and trim off the excess. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
To prebake the tart shell(s):
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line the tart shell(s) with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with dried beans, rice, or pastry weights.
To partially bake the tart shell(s), bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To fully prebake the tart shell(s):
After removing the foil and weights, return the tart pan(s) to the over and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.