French Fridays with Dorie: Orange-Almond Tartlets

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was billed as a good choice for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, my Valentine and I don’t have compatible dessert preferences. His preference is for anything chocolate. My preference leans more towards tarts and other fruit desserts. When I mentioned that I was making an Orange-Almond Tart this week, he turned up his nose.

On the other hand, this recipe was very appealing to me. It was a tart, it was fruit, and the frangipane filling sounded great.

The tart had several components, the crust, the filling, and the fruit. Each of the different parts needed time to chill or otherwise rest. That made it workable for me to prepare the crust and filling and orange slices one night and quickly put them together for dessert the next.

Because Dorie said the tart was best eaten the day it was made and I had no occasion this week to be bring a full-sized dessert somewhere to share, I chose to use my mini-tart pans to make crusts for three personal tarts for me. I made and consumed one little tart earlier this week. And I’ll make the others during the weekend.

I enjoy making pastry crusts. Cutting a stick of butter into small pieces used to be the most tedious step, until I figured out this method. I cut the stick of butter into quarters, but cutting it in half lengthwise, then turning it and cutting in half lengthwise again. Then, keeping it together as a stick, I slice the entire stick using the handy-dandy butter slicer like the one my mother used to use to make butter slices for guest dinners. Voila! Small pieces of butter! Often, I’ll spread them around on the cutting board and put it, butter and all, into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes for the butter to firm back up before proceeding.

The shortbread crust came together easily in the food processor, and then I pressed it into my mini-tart pans. I’m not afraid of a rolling pin, but I loved the tactile step of working with the crust this way. The crusts went into the freezer for the night.

The almond filling was awesome. Such a fancy looking filling for such little effort. I’ve made a similar filling before with almond paste, but this was much easier, with even nicer flavor, and I didn’t have to make a special trip to the store for ingredients.

I was a little surprised that the fruit was more of a garnish that part of the filling. I filled my tartlet with the almond filling and arranged the oranges on top. The filling was too firm for the fruit to nestle. For the full tart, the recipe called for 4 oranges. On my mini-tart, I could only fit the slices from less than half an orange on top. It was fine, but I’m just saying it surprised me that I didn’t use much fruit after all.

End result? I give this tart an A++. It was everything I like about a dessert. In the looks department, I impressed myself. , The tart looked like I had picked it up at an upscale bakery, not made it in my own kitchen.

I’m excited that I can experiment this weekend with the two mini-tart shells I have left. I think I’ll try one fruitless, just the frangipane with sliced almonds on top. Maybe my Valentine will even try that one.

I know I’ll use both this crust recipe and the filling in other desserts that I make. I’m thinking the filling would be great made with hazelnuts instead of almonds. The tart has displaced the Speculoos as my favorite recipe from Around My French Table so far. I think it’s so funny that my favorites from this book have been desserts because I am much more of a cook than a baker.

As always, I look forward to seeing what my fellow bloggers from French Fridays with Dorie have done with this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes for this cooking group, but if you’re tempted, buy the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table and consider joining the cooking fun.

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Posted on 11 February 2011, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your post! I think a version with just the cream would be heavenly, but I’m eager to try it with pears as well. Your tartlets turned out great!

  2. I chuckled about “compatible dessert preferences”. Good job
    on your tart!

  3. This looks yummy but I am in Howard’s camp about chocolate and desserts! Have a happy Valentine’s day. XOXOXO,

  4. I love that you made mini-tarts. Very cute!

  5. Agreed – this was a awesome dessert. I am right there with you – in my house The Dude is Mr. Chocolate Cake/ Chocolate Frosting and I am everything but… (Will swoon for lemons…)

  6. So pretty with the fan of orange segments…my favorite from this cookbook, too!!!!

  7. Love the mini tarts! So much better to have fresh pastries on demand!

    You’re spot on about the fruit being more a garnish than an integral part of the tart. That was my impression too upon reading the recipe so I started tweaking. Added a thin layer of marmalade under the frangipane, orange zest to the frangipane, and made caramel oranges to serve with the tart. I was citrus-happy. :)

  8. A++! That’s great. I didn’t love it as much, but I do adore your little tartlets!

  9. My husband’s chocolate dessert preference is one reason I
    didn’t make the tart this week. I certainly didn’t need to eat the
    whole thing by myself! GREAT idea to make little tartlets for
    yourself – I may have to give that a try.

  10. My husband is the same!
    He tried it (very reluctantly) and then couldn’t stop raving about it!
    Really enjoying your snowy photos as well, we don’t see snow at all, it’s gorgeous!

  11. Sorry your valentine didn’t care for it but I’m glad you did. I loved this one too. Yours look so pretty! Thanks for the tip with the butter. Good one :)

  12. Hi! Thanks for the nice welcome! I agree, I think you can
    do a lot with this tart. I bet hazelnut flour would be very yummy!
    I was wondering how it would be with cherries or blueberries in the
    summer or if they would be too sweet for this filling. It will be
    fun to experiment!

  13. I was grinning when I opened your blog and saw the photo of
    all the cook books- loved it ! Your mini tarts turned out lovely.
    Great post and photos !

  14. I love that last picture. The luscious fruit slices and the specks of almond in the cream. So lovely.

  15. I absolutely LOVE that you made mini-tarts! I need to get some mini pans so I can make this again – have a feeling I would do a better job with small ones!

  16. hi. happy valentine’s day. the tart looks delicious even though it is not chocolate.l love, helyn

  17. Oh, how cute those mini tarts are! First I thought that you found some humongous oranges:) I like small desserts, makes me feel better about eating them.

    I used ground walnuts instead of almonds (husband is allergic) and the cream was fabulous. I made it at night, and ate several spoonfuls of it, guiltily:)

    My husband did not care for it – he took off all the oranges! What does he know? The girls and I loved the tart, and next time I am making it with almonds:)

    Now I have to go and buy me a tart pan (and several small ones, too:)

  18. Your tart looks great! I made the tart on time (early, actually) but still haven’t blogged about it. I made mini tarts, too, only I used mandarin oranges for mine.

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