And here is the recipe for the Almond Tart that my friend made at the Christmas Party this year. It’s perfect for dunking in hot stuff like coffee, tea…. or me.
1/2 cup raw almonds with skins, plus about 18 whole almonds for decorating
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for top
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), softened, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg white, beaten
Baking dish: 9-inch tart fluted pan with removable bottom
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Blend the 1/2 cup nuts in a food processor (or a blender works, too – just need more patience) with the sugar until the mixture resembles coarse sand (if there are a few small chunks of nuts it’s okay). Add the butter, vanilla and almond extracts, and the salt, and blend until creamy. Add the flour and continue to pulse to make a soft dough.
Put the dough in a 9-inch tart pan and spread it evenly with a spatula spoon (dip it in warm water if you need help smoothing the surface). Cover and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and prick the dough all over with a fork. Generously sprinkle sugar over the top of the dough. Toss the remaining whole almonds in egg white; press the nuts into the dough evenly around the edge of the pan. Bake until golden brown – about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Cool the bread in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the tart ring and cut the shortbread into wedges, each with a nut. Cool completely. Or – cool in pan completely and present as 1 large cookie and cut as desired.
The Final Dish: If you are like me… and lack the time to actually make this at home… get a best friend who will do it for you.