The Christmas baking continues!
My mom had asked me awhile back to bake something for her to serve to her craft group for their Christmas get together. It just so happened I had recently picked up a copy of the newest Vegetarian Times, and there was one recipe that had caught my eye.
The Honey Almond Tart with Orange Mascarpone seemed like the perfect treat to prepare for my mom and her “ladies” as she likes to call them. Mom took a look and agreed, so the tart it would be.
Fast forward to this Thursday, the day of the get together. I had just finished up my finals the day before, and finally had some time to dedicate to creating in the kitchen. I woke up early to hit up the grocery store for a few essentials we were missing, even before I had breakfast. i was a on a short schedule as I had to go to work in the early afternoon.
First thing I did was mix up the shortbread crust and get it in the fridge to chill per recipe instructions. I thought the crust seemed overly crumbly at the time, but knew I had followed the directions, so I just went with it.
Then I broke out the good stuff.
Something I’d never cooked with before – mascarpone. Probably due to the hefty price tag (that 500g tub was $14.99!) Upon opening the container, I was greeted with a very thick creamy cheese.
I, of course, I had do conduct a quick taste test. OMG…love this stuff. Such a rich, creamy mouthfeel. It doesn’t have a ton of flavour on its own, but definitely tasted like cream, which makes sense as its made from the stuff. I guess that’s why tiramisu tastes so damn good.
While my dough was chilling I quickly whipped up the orange mascarpone – just the cheese, whipping cream, sugar, orange zest and orange juice.
This would be excellent on pound cake, fresh berries, or smeared on a grainy bagel for a special brunch. Heck, I may even try it out as an oatmeal topping 😉
So after my cream was made, I took quick break to make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Baking fuel!
Then it was time to roll out that chilled dough.
Too bad rolling the dough was basically impossible.
After uttering a few choice words, I scrapped that idea, and just pressed the crust into a pie plate. It should have gone into a false-bottom tart pan, which I thought we had. Turns out we didn’t. But it’s all good, I’m all for improvising while baking.
While the crust baked off, I started in on the filling.
Melting the butter, sugar, honey, and salt.
FYI – this stuff will burn your tongue should you decide taste testing is a good idea. Just saying.
Soon enough, I was ready to assemble.
Slivered almonds all neatly arranged in the shell.
Expertly pouring in the honey/egg/butter/cream mixture.
Ready for the oven.
While it did its thing for 45 min, I got ready for work and downed a green smoothie.
And amazingly, I timed it perfectly so I had 10 min after it came out of the oven to snap a couple photos of the finished product.
Please excuse the fact that it is slightly over done. I cooked it per recipe instructions, but I guess my oven was a bit hotter than it said.
Sadly, I had to miss out on the taste testing as I was at work, but I heard it was enjoyed by all, especially the orange mascarpone cream.
Fortunately though, there were still a few slices left when I got home.
So aside from the fact that it was overdone, I quite enjoyed it. Not too sweet, not too heavy, with a nice balance of texture with the crunchy nuts and creamy topping. I’m not 100% sold on the crust – not because of the taste, but because I don’t think the recipe quite works as written. I think a shortbread style crust is the right type for the dish, but would consider trying out another recipe instead. It’s also relatively easy to make – just a little time consuming due to the chilling of the dough. And it’s a bit on the pricey side, so I’d still save it for a special occasion.
Now I have half a tub of mascarpone left in my fridge…any suggestions on what to do with it? Sweet, savoury, doesn’t matter – I’m all ears!