Baked Sunday Mornings: Almond Joy Tart

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.

I thought this tart was just lovely.  The crust was thin and crisp, although I couldn't really taste the almond flavor from the crust (there are only 1/4 cup of almonds total in the crust recipe, so there is barely any almond in any individual bite of crust).  Also, the chocolate flavor was not very pronounced -- in the future, I might make the chocolate layer with bittersweet chocolate only for a little more chocolate zing.  (Also, if I had used taller tart molds, I would have been able to pile on more chocolate topping -- but my tarts were pretty shallow.)  The bites where I got a piece of crunchy toasted almond garnish were my favorite -- and the most reminiscent of an actual Almond Joy bar.  The tart overall is surprisingly light and not too sweet. 

If I had to find something to criticize, it's that calling this dessert an "Almond Joy Tart" is a misnomer, because it doesn't really evoke the candy bar -- it's all coconut with just the faintest hint of chocolate and almond.  But when I gave it to people who like coconut, they didn't seem to mind -- and if you count yourself as one of the coconut-loving camp, this tart would be an excellent way to get your fix!

Recipe: "Almond Joy Tart" from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at BAKED Sunday Mornings.  


Roadtrek Girl said…
Beautiful, your tart dough looks absolutely perfect!
mike said…
Gorgeous tarts - you are a tart-shell aficionado! I agree - crust was so easy (and good) - made 2 batches for another round. And I also had lots of ganache leftover, but keeps in the fridge for other stuff. Love the slivered almond look too!
mrs. hope said…
looks great! I'm working on mine right now, though I'm just doing one large tart. So far the crust has been easy to work, and I'm noting the "not enough chocolate" sentiment. :)
Kristin said…
Your tart dough looks great! You did a great job with the chocolate glaze too : )
Elaine said…
Your tart looks perfect and I really like the slivered almond design. I am so glad you felt like making this after all that holiday baking you did - what an awesome feat.
Love how the slivered almonds look on top. Very pretty. My dough wasn't very sticky, but it kept ripping ... maybe I needed a larger eggs or a few drops of water. I also left out the rum and replaced it with vanilla.
Andrea said…
Your tart looks perfect! I have pie dough envy because mine didn't look quite as nice.
sweet said…
I was an eater of the tart and can verify that it was delicious! I love coconut and have rarely had such a lovely, light, coconutty dessert. I didn't taste a lot of almond, but I really liked the way the chocolate came through but didn't overpower the lovely fluffy coconut taste. I think it would be a great idea to make the chocolate a little more on the bitter side though, without making it any thicker.
Shelley said…
I am definitely in the coconut loving camp. Your tart looks terrific! And wasn't it so tasty too? This tart is a keeper!
Melanie said…
Wow! I wrote my post before reading yours, and we have the same opinion about the "not enough chocolate" issue. I think it's that while an actual Almond Joy is enrobed in chocolate, it's literally icing here. It needs to be more pronounced.

And I think raisins come a close second when it comes to controversial baking ingredients. :)