Sweet Almond Pastry:
First sift the flour with the
almond meal, confectioners sugar, baking powder, and salt. Place in
the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle
attachment. (Can also use a hand mixer). Add the chunks of cold butter
and beat on medium low speed until the mixture is mealy (grainy with
no visible pieces of butter). Add the cold egg yolks and seeds from
the vanilla bean (if using) and beat on low speed until the dough
comes together (pastry will be yellow in color).
the pastry onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the
pastry into 6 equal pieces (about 60 grams each). Wrap each piece of
pastry in plastic wrap.
Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least six hours (the pastry
can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for
up to three months). After the
pastry has chilled sufficiently, place on
a lightly floured surface, and roll each piece into a 5 1/2
inch (14 cm) round. (To
prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform
thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as
you roll.) Place
the rounds of pastry on a baking sheet, cover, and chill in the refrigerator
for about 15-30 minutes (to firm up the pastry which makes it easier to
place in the tart rings). Then gently
place each round into a 4 x 3/4 inch (10 x 2 cm) tart ring (or tart pan).
Never pull the pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by
too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the tart pan).
Gently lay in pan and lightly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the
sides of the tart ring. With a sharp knife cut excess pastry from top
of tart ring. Then with a thumb up movement, again press dough into
creases of ring. Place the tart rings on a parchment lined baking sheet,
and place in the refrigerator while you preheat your oven.
your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Lightly prick the bottom
of each pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the
dough from puffing up as it bakes).
unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill each tart ring with
pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the ring and
evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes
until crust is dry and lightly browned. Place on a wire rack. Remove
the paper and weights and let the tart shells cool.
Key Lime Filling: In
the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, (or with a hand
mixer) beat the egg yolks
until pale and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Gradually add the condensed milk and beat
until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then
beat in the lime juice and zest.
Fill each tart shell about 3/4
full with the filling
and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the filling is just set (the center
of the filling will still look a little wet). Remove from
oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once they have completely cooled, refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Whipped Cream: Once the tarts
have chilled, in the bowl of your
electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the whipping cream
and sugar until stiff peaks form. Either pipe or place mounds of whipping cream on top of the filling. Can
be stored in the refrigerator for a 2-3 days.
Makes 6 - 4 inch (10 cm) tarts