Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blueberry almond tart + Michael Shannon

Blueberry and almond tart / Torta de amêndoa e mirtilos

I will always remember the 2012 Academy Awards as the year in which the people who should have won the statues weren’t even nominated: as happened to Tilda and Lynne Ramsay, Michael Shannon had, to me, the most striking performance as an actor last year but was forgotten by the Academy. I’ll also keep in mind that the people responsible for the nominations chose Jessica Chastain as a contestant for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – which is perfect – but signed her in with the wrong movie; I wonder if the person reading the instructions got confused, Jack Palance style. :D

I find subtlety to be an essential quality for an actor, and Michael Shannon has tons of it – I feel that his Curtis would have become a walking cliché in the hands of a less talented actor. Shannon had impressed me before in rather short but powerful performances, and after watching the absolutely amazing “Take Shelter” I have become officially a fan: I am pretty sure he’ll nail the part of General Zod, making the always great Terence Stamp proud, and there are two other movies on their way that sound really interesting, one of them reuniting Shannon and Jeff Nichols – I’ll be watching those, you bet. And if you, like me, find that Shannon’s bony, squared face gives him a sort of intimidating look, you should know that he can be oh, so adorable and funny. :)

This tart, though not as simple as making a cake, is worth every second of preparation: the almond filling is luscious and moreish, while the berries, after baked, taste like little bubbles of jam exploding in one’s mouth. Oh, so good.

Blueberry almond tart
slightly adapted from the very, very delicious and beautiful Good Things to Eat (mine was bought here)

1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (35g) icing sugar, sifted if lumpy
pinch of salt
1/3 cup + ½ tablespoon (83g) cold unsalted butter, in cubes
1 egg
1 teaspoon ice water
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (112g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (125g) almond meal
½ tablespoon all purpose flour
pinch of salt
125g blueberries
icing sugar, for dusting

Pastry: place the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and blitz to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few times until mixture resembled coarse breadcrumbs. Break the egg into a small bowl, add the water and vanilla and lightly whisk with a fork. With the motor running, gradually add the egg mixture and process just until a dough starts to form (you won’t probably use the whole egg mixture). Transfer to a lightly floured surface, form into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (can be frozen for a month with a double layer of foil on top of the plastic wrap).

Lightly butter a 30x10cm (12x4in) tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll the pastry into a 35x15cm (14x6in) rectangle. Line the pan with the pastry, removing the excess pastry. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F and place a large baking sheet in it. Line the base and sides of the pastry case with a piece of baking paper and fill with dried beans/baking weights. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the sides have set. Carefully remove the beans and the paper, reduce the oven to 180°C/350°F, then bake the pastry until dry in the bottom and is starting to turn pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave it on. Cool the pastry for 10 minutes.
Make the filling: in the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, and then scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract, almond meal, all purpose flour and salt.
Sprinkle a third of the blueberries on the bottom of the pastry shell. Cover with the almond filling, then sprinkle the rest of the berries on top. Bake until the filling is set and golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar to serve and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6-8


Abby said...

I think Jessica Chastain is amazing! Over the weekend I watched two movies: Shame and My Week With Marilyn. I didn't LOVE either of them. But I have to admit that Michelle Williams made me forget that I was watching HER, which is quite a feat when playing someone like Marilyn Monroe!

That's the perfect breakfast cake!

And PS. Thanks for the bday wishes!

diamond said...

it looks delicious!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

How beautiful, I love the blueberries with almond!

Anaise said...

"Little bubbles of jam" is a great description for baked blueberries. I can see the baked filling of this as a great mix-in for icecream as well.

Terra said...

This is my first time at your lovely site, found you on Pinterst! Your tart looks so beautiful! I am totally okay with how long it would take to make, if the end result is that! Beautiful:-) Take care, Terra

Amanda said...

This looks so delicious, I can't wait to try it!

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