My First Rosh Hashanah and an Orange-Almond Tart

It's not my style to make, let alone post two dessert recipes in one week but I think this week deserved a special exception - I celebrated my very first Rosh Hashanah. While I'm not Jewish, my boyfriend is and to celebrate, we made a huge dinner - eggplant dip and spiced bread, braised brisket topped with a red wine reduction, parsnip and potato puree, pomegranate salad and, true to Jewish tradition, we ended with something sweet and fruity to symbolize a sweet new year.

This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table and it instantly became a unanimous favorite. The tart itself was very thin but I think that made it dainty and a little more elegant. The texture of it was my favorite, a sweetened, flaky crust and a creamy almond filling. The tart was topped with orange segments which added another textural component and a nice fruity finish. 

While this recipe was a little more time consuming than some others I've made, the extra effort was worth it. The only change that I made involved the almond flour. While I only could find it at Whole Foods, it would have cost almost $12 (!!) so I decided to take the cheap way out and make my own by pulverizing roasted, unsalted almonds in a coffee grinder until super fine and powdery. I can't say for sure, but I like to think that this is what made the almond cream extra nutty and flavorful. 

The recipe can be found after the jump and to all of those that celebrate - happiest of happy New Years!
Orange-Almond Tart
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table

For the oranges: 
4 navel or other meaty oranges
For the Almond Cream:
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
2 teaspoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 9- to 9 ½-inch tart shell, made with Sweet Tart Dough (recipe follows), partially baked and cooled
Confectioners' sugar for dusting, or about ¼ cup apple jelly and ½ teaspoon water, for glazing
1. To prepare the oranges: Using a sharp knife (I use a chef's knife), cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of each orange so it can stand upright. Working from top to bottom and following the curve of the fruit, use the knife to remove the peel in wide bands, cutting down to the fruit. You want to expose the juicy fruit, so take the thinnest little bit of fruit away with each strip of peel. Carefully run the knife down the connective membranes to release the orange segments one by one. Place the segments between a triple layer of paper towels and let them dry for at least 1 hour, or for several hours, or even overnight. If you have the chance and the towels seem saturated, change them.
2. To make the Almond Cream: Put the butter and sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the almond flour and process until well blended. Add the all-purpose flour and cornstarch, and process, then add the egg. Process for about 15 seconds more, or until the almond cream is homogenous. Add the rum or vanilla and process just to blend. (If you prefer, you can make the cream in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl with a rubber spatula. In either case, add the ingredients in the same order.) You can use the almond cream immediately or scrape it into a container and refrigerate it until firm, about 2 hours. It's better if you can allow the cream to chill, but it's not imperative. (The cream can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.)
3. When you're ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the tart shell on it.
4. Stir the almond cream, then turn it into the crust, smoothing the top. Arrange the orange slices in a decorative pattern over the top. Don't cover every bit of cream — it will bubble and rise as it bakes, and it's nice to leave space for it to come up around the fruit.
5. Bake the tart for 50 or 60 minutes, or until the cream has risen and turned golden brown. If you slip a knife into the cream, it should come out clean. Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
6. Right before serving, dust the tart with confectioners' sugar. Or, if you prefer, prepare a glaze by bringing the apple jelly and water to a boil (you can do this in a microwave oven or saucepan). Brush the glaze over the surface of the tart.
7. Remove the sides of the pan, slide the tart off the bottom of the pan (if you can't do this easily, don't bother with this step), and slice.
Sweet Tart Dough

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1. Put the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely — you'll have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas, and that's just fine. Stir the egg yolk, just to break it up, and add a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses — about 10 seconds each — until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change — heads up.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly knead it just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. (The dough can now be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)
3. When you are ready to make the tart shell, butter a 9- to-9½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. (Butter the pan even if it's nonstick.)
4. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. You probably won't use all the dough, but it's nice to make a thickish crust so you can really enjoy the texture. Press the crust in so the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but don't use a lot of force — working lightly will preserve the crust's shortbreadish texture. Prick the crust all over and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press the foil snugly against the crust. If the crust is frozen, you can bake it as is; if not, fill it with dried beans or rice (which you can reuse for crusts but won't be able to cook after this).
6. Partially bake the crust for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil (and weights). If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Return the tart to the oven and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and allow the crust to cool before you fill it.


Daisy said...

Happy New Year! sounds like you had some delicious celebrations.

In and Around Town said...

Sounds like you had a good first celebration! For all your talk of not liking desserts, you seem to make some fantastic ones!

Not Your Ordinary Agent said...

What a gorgeous photograph! you've taken some great pics here! please link to Foodie Friday or Sunday Supper Stumble! Happy New Year to your bf! http://notyourordinaryrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/09/foodie-friday-6-and-smooth-bean-soup.html
new follower too!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

Happy first rosh hashana :)
For future reference, TJ's sells almond flour pretty cheaply. If you checked there, they must have run out before the holiday with all the local Jews in Brookline/Newton ;)
The tart looks amazing!!!

Kerstin said...

Happy New Year! I've always thought oranges should be featured in desserts more - looks perfect :)

Jamal Mohamed said...

Great post on "My First Rosh Hashanah and an Orange-Almond Tart". As a professional chef i have to appreciate your work. Keep Posting useful posts like this. Keep in touch with my websites- artisan pizza institute | piping courses in dubai

What's Hot From The Small Boston Kitchen