Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Almond Tart with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

Every time I travel to the farmers market in San Francisco at the Ferry building, there is a directional pull to the Downtown Bakery booth, which is located in Healdsburg and travels to San Francisco for the Saturday farmers market.  Among the many absolutley mouthwatering treats there, one thing is ONE must have.  It is the almond tart!  It is flaky, rich, buttery, crunchy and full of almond flavor.  Decided that homemade creme fraiche ice cream would be the perfect compliment to this divine dessert!

Almond Tart

One 9 inch Tart

1 ½ cup flour
1 T. plus 1 ½ t. sugar
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
1 T. plus 1 ½ t. ice water
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Mix the flour and sugar in a standing electric mixer. Add the butter and mix until the butter is in very small pieces, the size of oatmeal. Add the water and extracts and mix until the dough is smooth and comes together.

To put the pastry in the pan, press the dough into a tart shell using your hands. Put the tart shell in the freezer and chill for about 30 minutes.

Bake the shell, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until it is light golden brown.

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds (dry roasted)
2 teaspoon almond extract

To bake the tart, place on a cookie sheet.

Heat the cream, sugar, and salt in a big, wide heavy-duty pot, until it begins to boil.

Continue to cook and when it starts to foam up, remove it from the heat and stir in the almonds and the almond extract. Fill just to the ¼ inch below the shell and make sure it is smooth before putting into the oven.

After the first ten minutes, check the tart. Take a heatproof spatula and smooth the filling. Tap the tart to prevent un even cooking.

Continue to cook, checking the tart every 5-8 minutes, and break up any dry crust that may be forming. As it begins to caramelize, stop tapping it and let the tart continue to bake.

Remove the tart from the oven when the filling is the color of coffee with a light touch of cream in it and there are no large pockets of sticky white filling, about 30 minutes. Let the tart cool a few minutes on a cooling rack. Loosen from ring with a sharp knife.

(Adapted from David Lebovitz)

Cream Fraiche Ice Cream

1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 t. vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
Yolks of 6 large eggs
1 cup crème fraîche

Place half-and-half and cream in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod into the cream mixture, then add the pod halves as well. Bring mixture to a simmer over moderate heat, remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

With a whisk in a large bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until mixture is pale and forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted. Gradually beat in hot cream mixture.

Return to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture visibly thickens, about 3 minutes. Do not let it boil or it will curdle. Cool 15 minutes, then add crème fraîche, whisking until smooth. Remove vanilla bean. Cover and chill mixture thoroughly. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

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