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French Fridays with Dorie: Orange-almond tart

Once again, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe required me to face my nemesis – pastry!  I did ok in the past with Dorie’s mustard tart and the chicken b’stilla but I still approached this week with a little trepidation.  The Orange-Almond Tart reminded me of a fancy French dessert (well, I suppose because it is!) that you would find in a pâtisserie and I was bringing it to a friends for a dinner party so the pressure was on to make it look *just* like it did in the book!

I made the tart dough the night before I would need it and was a little dismayed that it felt rock hard when I took it out of the fridge in the morning, even though Dorie says it is fine overnight in the fridge.  I got all het up and started another pastry crust, prepared to use the “press in” method as opposed to the roll out method which is what I had wanted to try.  By the time I got to dumping the second batch out on the table, the first dough had softened considerably – enough to roll out.  Thus ensued a complicated procedure involving wax paper and our giant atlas to get the rolled out dough over the tart pan.  We were – ahem – not so successful…

I salvaged what I could – knowing that the short crust would be fine once the topping was in there – and blind baked it.  The edges came out a little crispier than I had hoped for but it smelled heavenly.  Meanwhile, I pressed the second batch of dough into a pie tin and baked that one too – figuring I would just bring it to work – my colleagues are always happy to test my recipes!

The almond cream filling was pretty easy to make and whilst it rested in the fridge, I cut up my orange segments and drained them on paper towels.  It was simple to assemble and looked more or less like Dorie’s:

Once it was baked it looked (and smelled) great too – those browner edges were much less noticeable.  The orange segments had set perfectly into the baked almond cream…

The crust was a little uneven and the orange segments fell apart a little when I cut into the tart but the taste? Oh my!  Buttery short crust, luscious almond cream and bright bursts of orange? Perfection.  Maybe not as pretty as a French pâtisserie but certainly, you could close your eyes and pretend ;-)

Meanwhile, I had run out of oranges for the second tart shell so I substituted blueberries – Neil had picked up some on special, so we had quite a few.  This time I was in a hurry and did not let the almond cream rest in the fridge before I baked it and it was kind of frothy and rose up a lot before it fell and cracked on top.  Very rustic, wouldn’t you say?

I brought this into school on a Monday morning and it was gone by lunchtime. People took slices and hid them away for later, lured in by its buttery scent…  noone cared about my “the crust is uneven and the top cracked” note – people didn’t even read it until they were finished eating and mostly they said “Really? I didn’t notice!”

Taste= 10/10

Presentation (Dorie) = 10/10

Presentation (Mardi)= 6/10.

À suivre as they say since I know this won’t be the last time I make this!

Want to join in the fun? Join French Fridays with Dorie here and follow along on Twitter.

French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we prefer if you purchase the book for yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon (great price right now) or here on Amazon Canada (it’s also on special!).  Go on, treat yourself join us in 2011!

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67 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Orange-almond tart

  1. Jill February 11, 2011 at 05:58 #

    Isn’t it funny that there are lots of people who don’t notice if something’s not quite right. Only YOU do because you’re expert. The taste is there so who cares? They look and sound absolutely delicious and just as good as you’d find in many Parisian Pâtisseries ;-) You have such lucky colleagues!

  2. Liz February 11, 2011 at 06:31 #

    Mardi, crust is my nemesis, too!!!! But your results are beautiful! Love the thought of blueberries…mmmmmmm.

  3. penny aka jeroxie February 11, 2011 at 06:47 #

    Aww… but you still made it so that is good! Taste matter more right?

  4. My Carolina Kitchen February 11, 2011 at 07:00 #

    Pastry always scares me too, although I’ve had some success with it in the past using a recipe I saved from a cooking class a long time ago. I would have panicked when I removed this one from the refrig and it was hard as a rock. I’m glad everything turned out alright. Who wouldn’t love either version. After all, Ina (sorry Dorie) encourages us to make things look homemade.
    Sam

  5. Mr. Neil February 11, 2011 at 08:10 #

    I actually prefered the faulty “rustic” look.

    Geoff, this is begging for a nice sticky. While most will run for the classic Sauternes, I’d actually suggest a Vin Santo (from italy) for the first dessert. Not as sweet, and will work nicely with the almond.

    For those not able to get that, there’sa wide range of dessert wines that mroe or less would work..stay away from Port and icewines, though.

  6. Belinda @zomppa February 11, 2011 at 08:11 #

    Delicious! So super elegant and tasty.

  7. Jen @ My Morning Chocolate February 11, 2011 at 08:35 #

    I think the tart looks pretty. I wouldn’t turn down a piece! I really like the look of the blueberry pie with its crackling texture on top.

    Today was my first French Fridays with Dorie, and I was also nervous about this recipe. I haven’t had much luck with tart crusts. So I was happy that the press method was an option!

  8. Joy February 11, 2011 at 09:44 #

    That looks just lovely. I am loving this recipe.

  9. merry jennifer February 11, 2011 at 10:35 #

    I think they’re both gorgeous, regardless of how the crust came out. It looks like a perfect, soul-satisfying snack. If I worked at your school, I would have hidden away at least two pieces. :)

  10. Happy When Not Hungry February 11, 2011 at 10:45 #

    Wow this looks amazing! Nice job!

  11. Trix February 11, 2011 at 11:03 #

    You know, I actually think I like the blueberry version better! Short crust is tough to work with, that’s for sure – but you saved it with aplomb!

  12. KB from Prof Who Cooks February 11, 2011 at 12:57 #

    That blueberry version looks mouthwatering, and it is funny that it is only the baker who usually notices all of the tiny faults! Both tarts just look wonderful.

  13. Susan February 11, 2011 at 13:21 #

    I love the Blueberry version! I’ll be it tasted great. I made mine with pears this time.

  14. Lora @cakeduchess February 11, 2011 at 13:37 #

    Hi Mardi-Both tarts look lovely:)I would like to try it again with blueberries…great idea! Hope your weekend is nice!

  15. Brian @ A Thought For Food February 11, 2011 at 14:19 #

    Even with your little obstacles… they look perfect! I saw that orange almond tart in the book and have been dying to make it ever since.

  16. Monica (Ms. Hobby) February 11, 2011 at 14:22 #

    I love how so many FFwD people were creative and tried different fruits this week. Your blueberry might look “rustic” but there are plenty of people who love the rustic look. Besides, it is the taste that counts the most!

  17. Vegan Thyme (Kelly) February 11, 2011 at 14:50 #

    Taking an atlas to the dough–now that is a new one for me! Looks delish, crust is perfect, love the blueberries.

  18. The Farmers Wife February 11, 2011 at 15:14 #

    Rustic or not they both look excellent! I love tarts, so for me they both would be irresistible!

  19. sara @CaffeIna February 11, 2011 at 16:32 #

    I made the pear almond tart. Now I so want to try this one. I love desserts that feature orange as a main ingredients (and not as orange zest). I’m glad you somehow saved the crust ’cause I think the final result is beautiful!

  20. ComeUndone February 11, 2011 at 17:34 #

    The orange version looks amazing! Happy for you that you’ve conquered another pastry project.

  21. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best February 11, 2011 at 17:59 #

    I think you did a terrific job – much much better than I could accomplish! I love buttery flaky crusts! Missed you at the cookie bar, so I’ll be thinking about you when I try Dorie’s cookies.

  22. irena February 11, 2011 at 18:37 #

    It looks super…..don’t worry, I am sure taste is magnificent:)

  23. Cher February 11, 2011 at 20:10 #

    Great thought on using the blueberries. The base for this tart seems as if it will lend itself well to many different variations.

  24. kateiscooking February 12, 2011 at 07:58 #

    Love them both! I made an orange tart for the Fine Cooking cook the issue challenge two years ago and have wanted to make it again ever since. The blueberry substitution will be what I’l do next though. That one really looks incredible. Kate@kateiscooking

  25. Renee (Kudos Kitchen) February 12, 2011 at 09:14 #

    Even though you had issues with your crust, the end result was beautiful! Truly! I especially love how you made a second one with blueberries and that people were hiding slices for later. Proof positive of a perfect pastry :) Nicely done Mardi!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 14, 2011 at 21:00 #

      Yes, when there’s good stuff in the staff room, you have to get in early and save for later – otherwise when you need a treat, it’s all gone!

  26. Paula February 12, 2011 at 09:20 #

    Both tarts look wonderful Mardi. The blueberry one just goes to show that a pie or tart crust does not have to be uniform and consistent to entice consumers and taste great . I like the look of it and *rustic* is a a perfect word for it, so fitting for the blueberries inside of it.

  27. Suzie the Foodie February 12, 2011 at 10:27 #

    They ended up being beautiful! I personally adore rustic, makes for much more interesting photos and I always thing it tastes better than way anyway. Both the orange and the blueberry versions look fantastic Mardi. Nicely done!

  28. Renee (Kudos Kitchen) February 12, 2011 at 14:29 #

    Hi Mardi! I’m pleased to tell you that I’m proudly giving you this “Stylish Blogger Award” that I know you’ll be happy to pay-forward. To find out additional info:
    http://kudoskitchenbyrenee.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-first-stylish-blogger-award.html

  29. Tricia February 12, 2011 at 14:32 #

    Great job – you had me laughing along with you. The idea to add the blueberries was genius. I really love how “rustic” the second one turned out. I have some blueberries in the freezer that you have compelled me to try this with. Thx !

  30. Candy February 12, 2011 at 15:48 #

    Your tarts ended up looking great! I never tell my co-workers about the imperfections and they never notice any!

  31. Terri February 12, 2011 at 16:36 #

    Thanks for posting the pictures of the crust before & after. It’s really helpful! Now I’ll know what to do with mine (I’m behind on my FFwD this week) and not worry. I’ve been a little intimidated by this recipe but your photos make my mouth water!

  32. Anna Johnston February 12, 2011 at 19:00 #

    Aaahhh, good for you facing your nemisis & it all looks & sounds wonderful too. Love Mr Neils little tip on his choice of sticky too.

  33. The Mistress of Spices February 13, 2011 at 07:29 #

    Wow…I’ve never quite had the courage to take on a pastry crust…you inspire me! Both of your tarts look beautiful…lucky those who got to eat them!

  34. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 13, 2011 at 07:34 #

    I really love the blueberry one, I think it’s so inviting with its crackly crust!

  35. Jason Phelps February 13, 2011 at 09:49 #

    I love learning something from a good idea that takes an unexpected left turn. Your recovery speaks to a lesson well in hand. The first picture is magnifcient. I’d like some right now to be sure.

    Jason

  36. Betsy February 13, 2011 at 21:33 #

    Glad you made faced off with your pastry nemesis. I love the look of the blueberry version. I did the press-in method and it worked without a hitch. I agree this is a recipe to make again and again.

  37. Conor @ Hold the Beef February 15, 2011 at 00:22 #

    Those textures look to-die-for. It’s putting up a decent fight but I am pretty sure you’re winning the pastry battle!

  38. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction February 16, 2011 at 15:01 #

    Yum! I’ll be right over for a slice (if there’s any left!)

  39. Bren February 16, 2011 at 21:08 #

    those little bits and pieces that fall off and decide to do their own thing don’t matter—they all get eaten anyway! at least I hope! the taste and that wow factor is what mattered! And clearly it showed out in this lovely tart! :)

  40. Lana February 19, 2011 at 01:53 #

    I could have sworn I left the comment waaaay back. Those horrible little gnomes that reside in the computers are always sabotaging me:)
    No matter, I can post again:)
    First I thought that I would be the only one whose crust was a tad more brown than I expected. I am a bit relieved after reading the reactions.
    I agree with you, the tart smelled wonderfully buttery and nutty. I loved it (husband picked off all the oranges – I did not care, more for me!) and I will make it again, for sure.
    Why do you think that your presentation is 6/10? I like it, even the rustic blueberry one:)

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