caramel-almond custard tart {ffwd}

DSC05520

I’ll admit that I was skeptical about this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie. The choice was a Caramel-Almond Custard Tart. The recipe reads like a sweet quiche with nuts on top and that just didn’t seem appealing. However, I enjoy my Fridays with the Doristas, so I soldiered on.

Each time we use it, I remember that the sweet tart crust is one of my favorite discoveries in Around My French Table. The cookie-like crust comes together easily, and I love the press-in method, with no rolling or waiting required.

The filling starts with a simple caramel. I think I’m gradually losing my fear of molten sugar. This caramel is slower to brown than others. I think because it’s more like caramelizing a heavy sugar syrup than just plain sugar. That also made it less scary. It boiled madly for a few minutes and then turned a lovely shade of brown and was ready. My caramel did seize up when I poured room-temperature cream over it, but it smoothed out, just as Dorie promised, after sitting for a few minutes.

Boiling Sugar

While the caramel rested, I whisked eggs with sugar, salt, and milk to make a custard base, then added the caramel cream. At this point, I was still reminded of quiche filling.

Toasted sliced almonds are scattered over the tart crust, then the filling gets poured on top. The tart was practically overflowing, so it was challenging to move the pan to the oven. I did manage to do it without spilling a single drop.

Full Tart Shell

The tart needed to bake for a long time. After 35 minutes, it had not puffed at all. After 45 minutes, it started to puff on the edges, but not the middle. After 55 minutes, the middle was puffed but still very jiggly and not feeling firm. I finally decided it was enough after about 65 minutes, which was 20 minutes more than the recipe said.

It was also much later than I anticipated. I was hoping the tart would cool down to close to room temperature so we could try it before bedtime. Wanting to taste won out over waiting for it to reach the ideal temp, so the first try was on the warm side. To my surprise, it didn’t taste quiche-y at all. In fact, it reminded me of a warm pecan pie made with almonds, even though the fillings are drastically different. I really liked it. Howard was less sure.

I had a cold piece with breakfast to see if the texture changed after the tart cooled down. I found the filling smoother this morning and still delicious.

To see what the other FFwD participants thought of this tart, follow their links here. I can’t find the recipe online, but you can always find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

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Posted on 18 October 2013, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. You try waiting for the pastry to get crisp when you haven’t pre-baked the crust. THEN you’d be waiting ages. Like as in an eternity! I enjoyed the custard warm and next time would not bother with the pastry – just put it in tiny ramekins and enjoy it like that!

  2. I’m so happy this worked out for you. I know I would have loved it if I had actually made it in its original incarnation. One of these days, I’ll double the tart dough recipe and face off with my nemesis again, especially after your “warm pecan pie with almonds” comparison.

  3. I like the pecan pie comparison – I thought it reminded me of flan (yum)
    That tart dough is a dream, isn’t it?

    Have a great weekend!

  4. How funny – we had the exact same experience – a warm piece late last night & chilled one for breakfast. You’re right – the filling was creamier after it had cooled. All in all, a great dessert.

  5. This was definitely a winner in my house! My tarts were mini, so they were done in about 35 minutes. The caramel flavors were deep and rich…so, so good! I ate a piece for breakfast, too! This one is a keeper, for sure! Yours looks perfect! Glad you enjoyed it! Have a wonderful weekend, Betsy! Go Red Sox!!

  6. I’m glad you tried the tart! Looks great!

  7. Totally agree how it reminds of pecan pie- had the same thought. And mine ran a good 15 minutes over the cooking time and I finally pulled it out. I, however, had expected to like it due to the caramel aspect of it. So even though I managed to chicken out (I was literally trying to decide if I should have the fire extinguisher nearby….) on keeping the sugar going long enough, it still tasted lovely and I was pleased. Will be a nice change to pecan pie for turkey day as I like that this is not overkill sweet.

  8. One of the reasons I choose to go mini – was the longer baking time required for large one-sies. But warm or cold, this was good!

  9. This was so good, and so easy. I made minis so they were done in about 35 mins.

  10. You may have an oven like mine. I put it up 25 degrees for all of Dorie’s recipes. I think she has a hot oven. Glad it eventually came together for you.

  11. Oh Betsy! I love that you didnt spill a drop! I had a teeny bit that went out of the tart pan down the inside – side but nothing outside of that, it did take some maneuvering though, didn’t it? :)

    I’ve noticed that with my oven, most of Dorie’s timing is on the short side. I just anticipate that it will take about 15-20 minutes longer… and then I’m not disappointed, I just keep track of those things right in the cookbook so I remember for next time.

  12. I had to cook mine longer too, but not much longer, maybe ten minutes. This really is delicious isn’t it? I’ve made it with almonds and with pecans and loved them both. I think I might prefer the almond version but its close. I’ve struggled with this crust. Next time I need to try the press in method.

  13. Yeah, I love this crust, too. And the caramel…worked like a charm. The tart was darn tasty, too…I ate mine warm, cold and at room temp…all good :) Glad the idea of a sweet quiche didn’t scare you off!

  14. Betsy, your caramel almond custard tart looks wonderful – the crust has a great color and so does the custard. The sweet tart dough is really wonderful to work with and now that we made this tart, I hope I will remember to use it more often. Personally, I think when the tart has had a chance to cool overnight, it is quite delicious with a bit of whipped (not too sweet) cream. Love all those almonds on top, they make the tart look even prettier.
    Have a wonderful Sunday!

  15. Well I’m happy to hear that I wasn’t the only one whose tart needed much longer in the oven. I thought that it was my choice of pan, but apparently not. I also thought that this would be a great pecan pie substitute (since it’s not so easy to find karo syrup around here) and I plan to make it with either pecans or walnuts next time around.

  16. I agree that this tart dough is a revelation. I was thinking as I ate it that I could have just baked the shell and broken it up into pieces and been happy. I think Dorie underestimated the cooking time again but by now we all should know that our mileage may vary on this and knowing the right technique and what to look for is the right skill to develop. I have found that on my el cheapo oven that it freaks out when set to only 300 degrees. I am often horrified to check it and find it allows itself to get to 265 – ish before refiring to get hot. That won’t work for dishes like this. I have learned that just by setting the oven to 310 or 320 it stays more consistently hot yet not so much that things don’t cook correctly.

  17. Your tart looks fabulous! You were very controlled to have some left for breakfast.

  18. I wish you had been at my side as I made this dessert. Daughter Melissa said my fail had nothing to do with altitude, That I just had a caramel problem. I got all in a bother when it started to seize (like Dorie said it might) and took it off the burner immediately. So, I never did get the true caramel flavor. Even with my little tarts, they needed to be baked much longer than Dorie suggested. I think I must try this again but I have the feeling that you won’t. I will say, I learn more from my failures than my successes!

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