This lemon and almond tart is one of the desserts that helped make Bob's birthday celebration so special. It's a simplified version of an Italian cheese pie that I made years ago and while this newer version is more sophisticated, it's not haughty. It's from my horde of treasured European-style desserts that are barely sweet but festive enough to end a special meal. The tart is made from common, readily available ingredients and it's inexpensive to make. One caution - like many custard based desserts this is best eaten the day it is made. Let's get to it.
Lemon Almond Tart
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4-oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large egg yolks
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons (3-oz.) blanched almonds, toasted, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (1-1/2-oz.) blanched sliced almonds, toasted
1) To make pastry, place flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center of flour; add butter, lemon zest and egg yolk. Using finger tips work flour until a dough forms. Do not overwork dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes.
2) To make filling, place ricotta and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon zest and almonds.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to fit tart pan. Fit into pan and trim. Pour in filling, smooth top and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake until lightly brown and set, about 55 to 60 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Remove sides of pan. Sprinkle top with confectioners' sugar. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Recipe adapted from The Essential Dessert Cookbook.