Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raspberry Almond Tartlets: Modern Baker Challenge

I was snooping around on the Modern Baker Challenge site a couple weeks ago, and I noticed that it looked like one of the tartlets from the Sweet Tarts and Pies section didn't get taken by anybody to make.  I thought it would be a shame if nobody made those wonderful sounding tartlets.  Actually I didn't have the book at the time (I later got it from the library), so I couldn't even look at the recipe, but how could something called raspberry almond tartlets not be scrumptious.  I timidly typed a message saying I would bake them if no one else had claimed them.  Yea!, Phyl responded and said he had assigned them to me.  I was so excited to be baking & posting about something other than bread.

It was the perfect tartlet recipe, as it called for almond paste, raspberries and sugar, several of my favorite ingredients.  As luck would have it, I had exactly 4 ounces of almond paste in the freezer in a glass jar that was left over from a previous baking project.  I used Smucker's Simply Fruit (Raspberry) for the seedless raspberry preserves called for in the recipe.

The crust for these tartlets was made from the Sweet Tart Dough recipe found on page 160 of Malgieri's book The Modern Baker.   I made the dough the day before the tarts, although I wondered how long the dough was required to be refrigerated before you could use it.  This was only the second time I had used my old Hamilton Beach food processor to make a dough.  I'm amazed at how easy it is to put dough together with a food processor.  It's not so fun to wash all the nooks and crannies of the processor bowl later, but I think it's worth it to save the time.  It only took maybe 10 mintues to put the dough together using the food processor. 

Into the fridge the disk of dough went until the next day....

Before working with the dough, I read very carefully page 162 in his book re: rolling tartlet crusts, because I knew this dough could be hard to work with if I didn't do it correctly.

They should mention in this section, I think, that when you go to knead the cold dough that it will break and crumble a bit at first, before you're actually able to knead it.  But it did soften in my warmish hands, and after it did, I flattened it and used my pastry scraper to divide it into 3 pieces. 

Rolling out the dough and cutting the 24 circles was the most time-consuming part of the whole recipe, taking me maybe 45 minutes to do.  I put the tartlet pan full of dough circles back into the fridge for 45 minutes to chill before finishing.
The almond filling for the tartlets was very simple to mix up, using the food processor again.  I bought a package of Driscoll organic raspberries that contained HUGE berries.  The berries were so large that I laid them on their sides inside the little crustlets and squished them down slightly.  Just for fun, to see if they would be any different, I put a frozen raspberry into four of the tartlet crusts.  However, when I took all of the tartlets out of the pan to arrange on a rack to cool, I forgot which ones had the frozen berries.  Ooops, oh well, they've all tasted wonderful so far so I don't see why you couldn't use frozen berries in the winter.

There was plenty of the almond filling so I put more than 1 scant teaspoon into each crust.  It was probably closer to 2 teaspoons into each tartlet.  I was running low on sliced almonds, and that's why each tartlet isn't completely covered in almond slices, but I think they were just so delicious it didn't matter.

I'm glad it was nearing the end of the day, because I could have kept eating and eating these little things.  So very good with tea or coffee!  I think these would be a great hit at any family gathering, or baby shower or bridal shower.  They do take a bit of time, but are worth it for the raspberry & almond lovers out there.


  1. Yay! Welcome to Modern Baker Challenge is fun to write about things other than bread some times. =) These look just perfect! Love that sweet tart dough, especially with the food easy! =)

  2. Welcome to the Challenge!! It's great to have you on board. And thanks for writing such a great post. I love your pictures.

  3. Welcome to our little group of MB bakers! Your post on this is wonderful, really great photos, too. Looking forward to having you in the group and looking forward to making these little tartlets now as well.

  4. Welcome! I've had my eye on this one (I froze some almond paste for it). I am not looking forward to the dough part, becauase I have found some of these crusts hard to work with. Good to know about the frozen berries, though I hope to make this soon enough so that raspberries are still in season!

  5. These sound just like a version of English Bakewell tart! Yummy!

  6. Melanie, these are so pretty! I've been making pastry in the fp a bit lately, and I usually make a huge batch and freeze most of it - as you say, washing the bowl can be a bit of a pain! :)

  7. My mouth watered as I looked at your pictures and read the blog. I don't know anything about pastry cooking, but it looked to me like you have a winner. I would not ask you to go to all the work of making some for us, but you have so many things you could make that don't take such tedious preparation. Keep baking.