French Fridays with Dorie: Caramel-Almond Custard Tart

Dorie Greenspan Caramel Almond Tart on eatlivetravelwrite.comYou know you’ve had a busy day in the kitchen when you misread a recipe and only realise it the next day, having racked your brains over and over again to try to figure out what’s going wrong but you just can’t. In any case, there’s so much food that you know you don’t even really *need* this dish to work.  You know you’re with great friends when they eat your unbaked tart shell and proclaim it “amazing” 😉 And so went the story of this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe – Caramel-Almond Custard Tart (p 457) – which I baked for our Thanksgiving dessert. Well, kinda.

It’s an easy recipe. Make the pastry. Let it rest overnight.  Roll out or pat the pastry into the tart tin. Bake the tart shell. Make the caramel custard filling. Fill the cooled tart shell and bake.  There’s really no excuse that I messed up and didn’t bake the tart shell before I filled it and baked the custard filling. Except that I didn’t read the recipe. Can I use  the excuse that I was dealing with a Danish pastry recipe (also multi-part) and a 6.75lb chicken on an unfamiliar setting in my new oven and trying to keep the house and kitchen tidy so it didn’t look like a pigsty when our guests arrived?  No? Ok then.

In the oven, I should have known something was wrong when some of the custard spilled out onto the baking tray below the tart pan. But as it didn’t seem to be affecting the filling too much, I just left it. Wondered why the shell was so soggy, even after it had cooled to room temperature and I cut the slice for the picture above (the reason it’s on the pie server is because it wouldn’t slide off LOL!). Simply could not figure it out. And, of course, didn’t think to to the smart thing and check the recipe. Maybe subconsciously I knew that if I read in black and white that I had messed up, I would feel compelled to make it again. So I kept the book closed.  In any case, everyone ate this, regardless.  I tried to crisp up the pastry by putting it into the oven before I served it but all it did was make the soggy pastry warm and the caramel filling liquidy… and I have to say, the flavours were pretty great. I mean, sugar, butter, eggs, milk – you can’t go wrong. I’ll make this again. Next time I will follow the instructions though because I have a feeling it is a pretty darned special dessert.


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28 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Caramel-Almond Custard Tart

  1. Liz October 18, 2013 at 06:25 #

    Ooops…that sort of thing happens to me more and more often these days. Not surprising when multitasking for a holiday. Your tart still looks splendid!

  2. EmilyC October 18, 2013 at 06:40 #

    I would suggest toasting slices before eating to overcome the soggy pastry! Love the color of your custard!

    • Mardi Michels October 18, 2013 at 06:44 #

      I don’t think it’s wise to put this in a toaster given it’s got all that caramel! I did place it on a very hot cookie tray in the oven with the top covered, hoping it would crisp up but to no avail. Don’t think the base covered in custard would ever crisp up.

  3. Adriana October 18, 2013 at 06:57 #

    Aw Mardi! Seriously, with so much going on in the kitchen, what’s a little unbaked crust? My eyes almost popped out when I read how much your chicken weighted. Glad you enjoyed Thanksgiving and your amazing friends too.

  4. Cher October 18, 2013 at 07:45 #

    Sheesh Mardi – the idea!

    It still looks great – especially sitting there on that amazing plate!

  5. Paula October 18, 2013 at 08:46 #

    Uncooked pastry aside, this looks like a marvelous tart. Sounds like your Thanksgiving dinner party was a success. We were halfway through our turkey dinner when I realized that I had forgotten to do the stuffing. No matter, we all enjoyed each other’s company and we were all stuffed by the end of dinner anyway 🙂

  6. Susan October 18, 2013 at 12:33 #

    Yep – we’ve all done that! And, yes, lots of good distractions. But, your photo looks great.

  7. Kathy October 18, 2013 at 15:18 #

    So sorry…I wish I could say it’s never happened to me but….! Sometimes things just go that way, and there’s no rhyme or reason! Your tart still looks yummy! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Mardi Michels November 10, 2013 at 16:56 #

      Well I think that “not following the recipe” is probably the reason it didn’t work 😉

  8. yummychunklet October 18, 2013 at 18:45 #

    Sorry that your custard spilled over! Mine did as well, but I ate this yummy tart anyway!

  9. Tricia October 18, 2013 at 19:52 #

    You had me at that plate- how cute !! I am really sure it tasted lovely anyway as this combo can’t seem to go too wrong. My color was way off but gosh it still tasted good in “blondie” form. And mine eeked out a bit too, giving me this thin layer of caramel on the bottom of my pan that was to die for. Granted I was not serving it to company but picking this overflow and stuffing it into my mouth was heaven 🙂 PS- the Facebook is fun so far but I am still not feeling caught up on recipes, posts,etc. And now there is more to do but so far, still fun. Nothing like a learning curve….

  10. Betsy October 18, 2013 at 20:29 #

    Well, at least your friends were forgiving. Definitely try this again with a baked crust. I didn’t even think I’d like it, but I liked it a lot. Happy belated Thanksgiving.

  11. Nana October 18, 2013 at 20:45 #

    Mardi, I never realized the crust had to be pre-baked either. After reading your comment I went
    back to check it out. Oh well. As for Facebook, you are not the only one, I don’t do it
    either but maybe someday.

  12. Margaret October 18, 2013 at 23:47 #

    Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one that has done that. The filling probably well made up for the ‘soft’ crust!!

  13. Marlene October 19, 2013 at 00:41 #

    Oh dear … I had a day like that yesterday. Everything I did in the kitchen went wrong somehow. Not sure what that was about, but boy am I glad that today was better!

  14. Guyla October 19, 2013 at 12:16 #

    You DO need to make it again because it IS pretty spectacular! I made this one with pecans –but I’ve also made it with almonds and its delicious either way. I think a new oven and everything else you had going on is a completely acceptable explanation for missing a tiny party of the recipe:) Your gorgeous plate makes anything look amazing!

  15. Alice October 19, 2013 at 12:59 #

    LOL 🙂 Either way it looks like you hit it outta the park – we never would have known your behind the scenes secrets if you hadn’t said anything… Maybe we can go shopping for dishes together one day, you always have the most interesting dishes! 🙂

    • Mardi Michels November 10, 2013 at 16:55 #

      Most of my interesting dishes come from France, it must be said….

  16. TheKitchenLioness October 20, 2013 at 02:23 #

    Mardi, I realy like the color your caramel custard has and I ceratainy like the way you presented it on that cake server on that very cute polka dot plate! Soggy crust or not, the taste is what counts!
    Hope you are spending a lovley weekend – I was a tad overwhelmed with cooking, baking and commenting whilst we entertained our fabulous visitors from Montréal, so I am a little late with returning comments.

  17. Cakelaw October 20, 2013 at 02:30 #

    Hey, I reckon if it tasted great, that’s a win! It’s a very handsome slice.

  18. Mary Hirsch October 20, 2013 at 22:04 #

    Whoops! At least, Mardi, this is really proof that you are human. Every week, as busy as you are, you seem to pull these recipes together. It’s very impressive. I love that your guests rolled with the uncooked pastry. I’m sure the rest of the meal was perfect and I have a feeling this caramel custard with almonds was pretty darn good also. Happy Thanksgiving (late) from an American to a Canadian.

    • Mardi Michels November 10, 2013 at 16:54 #

      Oh I am nothing if not human! And happy to admit mistakes…

  19. Rose October 21, 2013 at 16:44 #

    Well, kudos to you for fessing up. With that gorgeous picture you could have lied and none of us would have been the wiser.

    I just sent you the latest version of my spreadsheet.

  20. trevorsisboom October 21, 2013 at 21:05 #

    So it looks lovely and in blogging that counts for a lot. lol. And if it is any consolation I I love that look on the pie server…so that stands on its own and I will use that someday soon. Maybe for my version which is cooking now but who knows if I will ever get around to sharing it. (I’m in a slump.) And I have actually fried a tart below when the crust was too mushy. It kinda works. But only kinda.

    • Mardi Michels October 21, 2013 at 21:29 #

      I tried crisping it up in a really hot frying pan too. Not so much.

  21. Viviane Bauquet Farre - Food and Style October 21, 2013 at 21:14 #

    Fantastic fall tart, Mardi!

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