So I've taken a pledge (rather than a resolution) to purge my less-than-sacred culinary space one package, sack, and box at a time. With the exception of perishables that need routine replacement, I am putting a moratorium on purchasing anything that can sit in my cupboard for a year. From now on, I'm just reaching in and grabbing the first thing that my fingers touch and will work with that, so help me. I'm clutching an unopened cellophane of ground almond meal at the moment. Yep, I can work with this and whittle down my flour, sugar, and butter reserves, to boot. Now all I have to do is empty the oven of ten tons of pots, pans, and pastry tins.
Pignoli Financier Tart - Adapted from Patricia Wells' recipe
[Because there is no separate crust, this is not technically a tart, but the ingredients and initial baking temperature create a chewy, dense, and rich casing for the buttery cake center. No one will complain, and you will have saved yourself a great deal of bother in preparing pastry.]
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup ground almonds (also known as almond flour or meal; do not use marzipan or almond paste)
1/2 cup cake flour
6 large unbeaten egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled in a small saucepan
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup pignoli nuts
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Sift powdered sugar, almonds, and cake flour into a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour in egg whites, beating with the whisk or a large spoon until they are well mixed. The batter will be wetter than you'd expect, moderately thick and slightly elastic. Pour in melted butter and stir until smoothly blended without any butter separating from batter. Stir in almond extract.
Well grease an 8-inch tart tin with removable bottom. Place tart tin on baking sheet for support. Pour batter into tin. Cover batter with pignoli nuts. Position baking sheet on center oven rack. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F and continue baking another 9 minutes. Turn off heat to let set in cooling oven for a final 10 minutes. Test very center with the blade of a dull knife. If wet, return to oven another 3-5 minutes. The center will be the last to match the light, firm crumb surrounding it. Even if the knife comes out clean, you may sense a certain heaviness around the blade when you first insert it. If so, make sure to give it that few extra minutes. Let cool ten minutes in tin before carefully lifting tart to a serving plate without trying to separate it from the removable bottom.
Been There, Done That ~
Almond Cherry Mini Tarts
Orange and Coriander Madeleines
Other People's Eats ~
Lychee Honey Financiers from Dessert First
Pignoli Almond Cookies from 6 Bittersweets
Peanut Butter Financiers from Technicolor Kitchen