Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Caramel Dipped Almond Frenchmen

  Ok, so can I tell you how much I adore David Lebovitz, author & food blogger?  Well, it's true I have such a blogger crush on him & his fabulous French - how do you say, je ne sais quoi? While crawling all over his blog ( the boundaries between professional interest and internet stalking have become quite blurred here) I found a tasty looking recipe for an almond caramel tart of sorts.  Obviously he calls it something far more fancy and French, but it's essentially a caramel tart with lots of shaved almonds in it.  It is here if you are curious, http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/02/chez-panisse-al/
     I have attempted to make it twice now, both times falling short of expectations.  First time I blindly followed the recipe of above to the detriment of both a pie pan and the cookie sheet that it subsequently stuck to. Apparently combining sugar & cream creates bubbles. Lots of bubbles. My beloved warned my about the tart bubbling up, he sweetly suggested filling in what little boiled out with some left over mixture. Well, after loosing a good 2/3's of the filling to boiling over the tart pan to burn happily onto my cookie sheet - I had some unsavory words for my beloved Frenchmen.  

    After a few yoga sessions and an expensive chat with a therapist for my husband, I tried again.  This time compensating for an expected amount of over flow - I doubled the recipe.  I also calculated that the excess water present in the cream is the original culprit of the over boiling anyway.  So why not cook it almost to the caramelized stage in a tall stove top pot and then transfer to the pie pan?? This adjustment worked wonders on my sanity and inventory of cookie sheets.
     But a doubled recipe was far to thick an almond layer.  It cut hideously, breaking into almond shards instead of pretty pie slices.  Nope, this will not do. Not at all.  But.....I had an idea.  If it's gonna crumble anyway - why not pulverize it in the blender?! Make it a crumb topping for an almond pie?? Or maybe a yummy apple almond pie??
    Moral of the story – TEST, TEST, TEST the recipe. I started with a caramel almond tart and finished with a fabulous crumble topping for apple pie. 
    You never know where baking may lead – but it will always be tasty!!

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