Sunday, December 29, 2013

Almond Caramel Custard Tart


And I apologize for not saluting you punctually, but a week into Christmas break I have been busier than during school! But never fear that this means a deficit of web-worthy scrumptious recipes! In fact, most of my business involves making brag-worthy outfits and desserts in time for various holiday deadlines! You have a wave of confections and clothing coming your way!

SUCH AS THIS ALMOND-CUSTARD TART I MADE FOR CHRISTMAS...this tart is notable because both of my brothers, who usually spurn dessert-related convolution in favor of steadfast staples like chocolate cake, LOVE IT. (as in, I get frequent requests nags). It probably has something to do with the fact that the custard tastes something like substantiated sugar. :)

Merry Christmas and I hope you like your present(s)!

Almond Custard Tart
With an almond crust, a vanilla-caramel custard filling, and whipped cream and candied almonds on top, this dessert is rich, elegant, and need I say delicious? It's definitely a fit for those sweet teeth (tooths?) out there. One recipe will fill a 9-inch tart pan rather sparsely, two recipes will fill a 10-inch pan.


1/2 cup toasted almonds (you're going to grind them up so the cut doesn't really matter)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 cup chilled butter
1 egg yolk

2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups whole milk (if you don't have whole milk, you can substitute 1/2 cup of milk for cream)
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup cooked slivered almonds
Lots of whipping cream (depending on how domed you want your pie to be)


0. Oven to 375 degrees.
1. Toast your almonds if you have not done so already. 350 degrees for 15 minutes should do it.
2. Grind almonds in a food processor with the granulated sugar.
3. Add in flour, powdered sugar, and salt and blend. Then add the butter in cube form and blend until you have a coarse meal. Then add the egg yolk and blend until your dough starts to stick together and it holds together when compressed. 
4. Butter a tart pan and press the dough into the pan to form the crust. Depending on the size of the pan used you will have leftover dough, which you can save for another use or use for cookies :D Poke holes in the sides and bottom with a fork.
5. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. You will have to watch it as it bakes and press down bubbles in the crust with the back of a fork.

1. In a medium-sized bowl, dissolve the cornstarch and the salt in 1/4 cup of milk. Beat in the egg yolks.
2. Now you're going to make the caramel that will largely determine the flavor of the custard. In a large saucepan, stir the sugar and the water over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil. After about 7 minutes the mixture will start to brown around the edges. At this point, you can move on to the next step if you prefer a more mild, vanilla taste to your pudding. If you are looking for a more pronounced burnt-caramel taste, let the caramel boil until it is a dark amber color. 
3. Add the milk to the caramel, which will cause a lot of hissing and bubbling. Your caramel will ossify into this big hard clump. DO NOT PANIC, just stir around your caramel in your milk over heat until the clump dissolves. 
4. Whisk the caramel mixture into the cornstarch yolk mixture. Then return everything back to the original pot. Remove from the heat once the mixture begins to boil. At this point it should have a thick, pudding-like consistency. 
5. Stir in butter and vanilla.
6. Pour custard into pie crust (can be done without cooling).
7. Put the tart into the fridge for at least 3 hours.

0. Line a baking sheet with foil.
1. Remember step 2 above? Do essentially the same thing. Dissolve the sugar in the water over heat in a medium saucepan. This time you want to let it boil until it is medium amber in color.
2. Stir in the almonds until they are coated with the caramel. 
3. Quickly dump the almonds out onto the foiled baking tray and spread into a single layer.
4. Once cooled, break apart the almonds into clumps of varying sizes. 
5. Whip your cream and spread into a dome shape over the top of your tart. Arrange your almond clusters atop it. Ta-da!

This is what your finished dough should look like the food processor, but it should compress and hold together when squeezed. I toasted my almonds a lot to get a nice toasted flavor, so my crust is pretty dark.

After the water and sugar have been boiling for about five minutes, the mixture will become white and foamy. At this point the caramel will start to darken.
This is what my pan looked like when I added the cream. This is darker even than I usually let the caramel get, but it's really entirely up to your preference. Options!
Creamy chaos. I suggest that you measure out your cream beforehand.
The sugary conglomeration
Don't worry it goes away :)
This is how you know your custard is done (after adding the egg mixture and returning it to the original pot). It will start boiling, creating these large pockmarks. It will also start flinging boiling drops of itself about your stove. Look out! I'm surprised I got as good of a picture as I did.
The finished custard. Depending on how much you browned your caramel, it can range in color from pastel yellow to toffee brown. Mine turned out to be some rosy cream color. Explain that to me?

This is how much I browned my sugar for the almond topping.

Yes, it looked so much like art that I took an interpretive picture.

My family likes whipped cream, hence the large dome. Besides it looks nice. 

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