I had planned to make Pine Nut Cookies tonight, as a quick dessert for an impromptu dinner party with old friends. Then I came home and facebook informed me that it was one of said friend's birthday, so plans quickly changed.
Yesterday I bought a case of strawberries because they were on sale (and I had delusions about finding time to make jam during this seriously busy week). I raided the strawberries, and the pantry, and found all the ingredients for this quickly assembled, yet impressive, tart.
The recipe comes from the cookbook Short and Sweet: Sophisticated Desserts in 30 Minutes or Less, which I often turn to for quick and impressive desserts. Although this tart pushes the 30 minute time frame, it is excellent and really doesn't take much longer. Unless, like me, you've broken multiple egg slicers using them on strawberries, and in fact are in between egg slicers and have to slice the strawberries by hand. Then I'd say it takes closer to an hour.
I always slice the strawberries, I think it looks better that way. This time I did wedge three whole strawberries in the middle.
Everyone enjoyed this dessert! Happy Birthday, Stacey!
Strawberry Almond Butter Tart
1/2 cup (4 ounces) canned almond paste, broken into 6 pieces (I always use the whole 7-ounce tube, with no other adjustments--works every time)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 15 pieces
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup purchased lemon curd or 1/3 cup lemon or apricot jam or preserves (I've used both lemon curd and apricot preserves, both are delicious)
2 pints strawberries, hulled
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9- or 10-inch tart pan (with or without a removable bottom) with nonstick oil spray. In a food processor, blend the almond paste with the sugar and butter until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, about 20 seconds total. (this always takes me longer than 20 seconds)
Add the eggs and process until blended, about 10 seconds. Add the flour and process until blended, about 5 seconds.
Spread the dough in the prepared pan. Bake until the top is golden and springs back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for at least 8 minutes. (The pastry can be stored at room temperature, covered, for 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month).
Spread the top of the pastry with the lemon curd or jam. Leave the berries whole if they are small or slice them if they are large. Cover the top with whole berries, hulled sides down, or overlap the sliced berries to cover the top. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving.