Almond Tart from Andria
Crostata di Mandorle


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Almond Tart from Andria
Crostata di Mandorle
cookbook: Lidia's Italy
region: Puglia
recipe
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serves: 8 servings

Filled with nuts and meringue, this lattice-topped tart is quite lovely, quite easy and typically Italian. In Andria, Carlo Tottolo gets almonds from the area of Toritto, and they are some of the best in all of Italy.
 

Ingredients


For the Tart Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons butter, very cold, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons water, with ice

For the Filling
1½ cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
¾ cup sugar
4 large egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon Lemon zest, grated

Equipment

Food Processor;

Directions

Make the tart dough at least 4 hours before rolling it (preferably longer). Put the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of the food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Process for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients. Drop the cut-up butter on top of the flour, and pulse the machine in a dozen or more short bursts, until the mixture is crumbly with only small bits of butter visible.

Pour the egg yolks over the crumbs and pulse in bursts about 5 seconds total, to moisten the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ice water on the dough and pulse again for a few seconds. The dough should begin to clump together but won't form a solid mass.

Scrape it all out onto a board, gather and press the clumps into a firm ball. If it's dry and crumbles apart, sprinkle more ice water over the dough and knead gently. When the dough sticks together, flatten it into a disk, wrap well in plastic and refrigerate for up to a day before rolling; freeze the dough for longer keeping.

When you're ready to roll the dough and fill the tart, preheat your oven to 350°, with a rack set in the center. Place a baking stone on the rack if you have one.

Cut off 1/3 of dough in a single piece for the lattice top; keep it chilled. Place the larger piece of dough between two sheets of parchment and roll it out to an even round, 11-inches diameter. Peel off the top sheet of parchment, invert the circle over the tart pan and peel off the remaining sheet. Press the dough gently down into the pan so it covers the bottom and lines the sides. Trim the edges of the dough round so it is even with the pan rim. With your fingers, form an even wall all the way around. Use scraps of dough to fill cracks or thin spots on the bottom or sides. Put the lined tart pan in the refrigerator.

Now roll the smaller piece of dough between the parchment sheets to a 10-inch round. Remove the top parchment sheet and cut the dough in 1-inch wide strips with a pastry cutter or sharp knife. Leave the strips in place on the parchment sheet and refrigerate them while you make the filling.

Put the egg whites with the pinch of salt in the bowl of the electric mixer and start whisking on medium speed. When the whites are frothy, pour in the sugar gradually, and raise the speed as the whites expand and thicken. When all the sugar has been incorporated, drop in the lemon peel and continue whipping until the whites are very light, smooth and glossy. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top, a handful at a time, and fold in gently with a spatula so they are evenly dispersed.

Take the pastry-lined tart pan and lattice strips from the refrigerator. Scrape the filling into the pastry shell and spread it evenly.

To form the lattice top, lay half the strips right over the filling, parallel and spaced about an inch apart. Lay the other strips at an acute angle to the first set, covering the entire top of the tart in an even pattern-cut the strips or piece them together to make different lengths. When they're all arranged, press and pinch the ends of the strips securely into the top rim of dough in the pan.

Bake the tart-on the stone if you have one-for about for 45 minutes or until the filling has risen and dried and appears firm and lightly browned in the lattice. The dough strips and rim should be golden brown.

Cool the tart on a wire rack. When the crust has contracted a bit, slip off the fluted side ring. When it is completely cool, transfer the tart to a serving plate, if you wish, by sliding a long wide spatula (or two spatulas) under the pastry bottom and lifting the tart off the metal disk. Cut it in wedges and serve.

Lidia's Italy

In this exciting book, Lidia takes us on a gastronomic journey-from Piedmont to Puglia- exploring ten different regions that have informed her cooking and helped make to make her the fabulous cook that she is today.

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