Sunday, March 10, 2013

Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart

As my recipes on this blog suggest, I am a sucker for almond tarts.  Like it's kinda scary.  I think out of 4 tart recipes on here so far, 3 are almond tarts.  I just love almond paste/filling so much I could eat it with a spoon (did I just say that publicly??).  Oh well, this is an OK downside to have I think.  Anyways, given my love for almond tarts, when I saw this Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart recipe in Bon Appetit a few months back, I knew I had to try it.  I mean, fresh ground cardamom AND almond??  Ahem, yes please.  And it is so pretty with the crust cut outs on top.

This was my first chance to use these super sweet pie cutters I got for Christmas.   Awesome. 

 How pretty?

This recipe is also super cool in that you don't roll out the crust (which by the way has fresh ground cardamom in it too...amazing).  Instead you break the chilled dough into pieces in the tart pan and press it with your fingers to create a crust.  Then you use the bottom of a dry measuring cup to smooth the bottom and trim the edges.  This is genius, I think.  I like it love it dig it.  Check it out.

The filling has slivered almonds, powdered sugar, freshly ground cardamom, nutmeg, egg whites, vanilla, and egg yolk.  Super easy!  I took the recipe author's suggestion and freshly ground the cardamom.  To do this, you toast the whole pods for a few minutes in a dry skillet.  Then put them on a cutting board and crush them under the blade of a large knife.  Remove the shells and then take the small black hard seeds from inside and grind them in a spice grinder (I use a coffee grinder for this).  I think freshly grinding the seeds was worth it.  The cardamom flavor was incredible and permeated the entire tart.

Here's the recipe y'all!

Yarnell Family's Fyrstekake (Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart) 
 (pronounced FISH-dehk-kakah)

Bon Appetit December 2012

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. whole milk or heavy cream

Filling and Assembly
unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3 large egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk

Special Equipment: A 9" diameter fluted tart pan with removable bottom, decorative cookie cutters.


For Crust:

Whisk flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter and sugar in medium bowl until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Beat in egg yolk and milk and then gradually add flour mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Pat dough into a ball; break off one-quarter of dough.  Form each piece into a ball and then flatten balls into disks.  Wrap separately in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Butter tart pan.  Break larger dough disc into small pieces and scatter over bottom of pan.  Using fingertips, press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan.  Use flat bottom of a measuring cup to smooth the surface and trim the edges.  Roll out smaller dough disk to about 1/8" thick.  Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Cover and chill crust and cutouts for 1 hour.

Filling and Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pulse almonds, powdered sugar, cardamom, an nutmeg in a food processor until nuts are finely ground.  Transfer dry ingredients to a large bowl.  Using an electirc mixer, beat eg whites and vanilla in a medium bowl util medium peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into dry ingredients. 

Whisk egg yolk and 2 tsp. water in a small bowl to blend.  Fill chilled crust with almond miture; smooth top.  Arrange cutouts on top and brush cutouts with egg wash.

Bake tart until crust and cutouts are golden brown and filling is set, about 30-35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 

Tart can be made 2 days ahead.  Store airtight at room temperature.