I know it looks like I haven't been baking much lately (or at least my mother pointed out to me that I haven't posted to my blog in a while), but I had to take a little break after baking all-out for three days straight before our holiday party two weeks ago. (Overall party baking total: 800 cookies and brownies, six dozen mini goat cheese souffles, and one 9-inch red velvet cake. People think I'm kidding when I say that I plan for baked goods consumption of 10 items per party guest, but I'm dead serious!) After some rest and relaxation and a week's vacation on the west coast, I was ready to start baking again.
And just in time to make the Almond Joy Tart as part of the Baked Sunday Mornings bake along! I am a huge fan of both coconut and almonds, and I happen to love both Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars. However, I rarely bake with coconut because in my experience, people are pretty much evenly divided into the coconut-loving and coconut-hating camps -- I have a hard time thinking of a more divisive baking ingredient.
The tart crust was fairly easy to make. You mix the crust ingredients together in the food processor, and chill the tart dough before rolling it out. As the recipe warned, the dough was very sticky and I did have to use a lot of flour to roll it out. However, there was plenty of dough to go around (my tart pans are 4.75" in diameter and I had a lot of dough leftover after rolling out six crusts), and I was able to get six very nice looking tart crusts (pictured below, before baking). I used unblanched almonds, so you can see the dark bits of almond skin in the crusts. You freeze the crusts before blind baking them.
The filling is surprisingly simple, containing only four ingredients. You make a ganache with white chocolate and cream, and chill it overnight. The next day, you whip the ganache until it holds soft peaks, and then fold in dried unsweetened coconut and rum (I have never been a fan of rum, so I left it out). This filling is delicious on its own, and I would happily eat through a bowl of it with a spoon. You can't really taste the white chocolate -- but the filling is luscious and creamy, and yet light and fluffy, with a wonderful texture from the dried coconut.
The chocolate layer on top is simply a chocolate ganache made with heavy cream and a mixture of bittersweet and milk chocolates. I topped my tarts with some toasted slivered almonds. I had quite a bit of filling and chocolate topping left over. If I had thought to make a seventh tart crust with the leftover tart dough, I definitely would have had enough filling and topping to make at least one additional tart.
Recipe: "Almond Joy Tart" from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at BAKED Sunday Mornings.