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Marzipan Apricot Tart

Makes 8-10 servings
  • Active time: 25 min
    Total time: 2 hr (not including cooling)
Think of this tart as a study in almonds, beginning with a crust enriched with ground almonds that is topped with marzipan (a confection of almonds with the flavor of almond extract) followed by frangipane (rich almond cake-like batter). One bite and you will instantly be transported to a café in Little Italy. Sit back and relax with a cup of espresso; you’ll want to linger and savor it slowly.

INGREDIENTS:

INGREDIENTS FOR PASTRY DOUGH:

  • 1/4 cup whole raw almonds (with skins)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE:

  • 1/2 cup whole raw almonds (with skins)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces marzipan
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

EQUIPMENT:

  • a 9- by 1-inch tart pan with removable bottom

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make PASTRY:

  • Pulse almonds with 1/4 cup flour until finely ground (be careful not to grind to a paste).
  • Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Beat in egg yolk, then add vanilla and almond extracts, beating well. At low speed, mix in almond mixture, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup flour until mixture just forms a dough.
  • Form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap, then chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  • Press dough evenly over bottom and up sides of pan with well-floured fingers. Chill shell 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
  • Lightly prick shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake shell until sides are set and edge is golden, about 15 minutes.
  • Carefully remove weights and foil and bake until shell is golden all over, about 10 minutes more. Cool shell completely in pan on a rack. (Leave oven on.)

MAKE CAKE WHILE SHELL IS COOLING:

  • Pulse almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until finely ground (be careful not to grind to a paste).
  • Beat butter and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add egg, beating well. Add almond mixture, salt, flour, baking powder and extracts and mix at low speed until combined (batter will be fairly thick).
  • Roll marzipan out to an 8-inch circle on a lightly floured surface and trim where necessary to create an even circle.

ASSEMBLE TART:

  • Fit marzipan in tart shell and spread with apricot preserves.
  • Spread cake batter evenly in pan and sprinkle with almonds.
  • Bake until golden brown and cake is set, 25 to 30 minutes (it should not wobble in center when shaken slightly).
  • Cool completely on a rack, about 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
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