2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut in pieces
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (See Note)
2 tablespoons ice water
To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Add the egg, salt, nutmeg, and almond extract. Pulse just to blend. With the motor running, add the water gradually through the feed tube and process until the mixture begins to form a ball; you may not need all of the water. (If you prefer, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and use a pastry blender to work the mixture until it resembles coarse corn meal. Mix in the egg, salt, nutmeg, and almond extract. Add the water gradually, adding just enough to form the mixture into a ball of dough.) Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Place the dough between 2 clean sheets of waxed paper and roll it out to fit a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit the dough into the pan and trim off the excess dough. Prick the dough in several places with a fork. Put a sheet of foil or waxed paper over the dough and weigh it down with dried beans or rice. Bake for 12 minutes, remove the foil and beans, and bake for about 3 to 5 minutes more, or until light golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
2 tablespoons apricot jam
4 cups hulled strawberries or an assortment of blackberries, raspberries, melon balls, kiwi and/or seeded green and black grapes
½ cup water
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
Mascarpone cheese, optional
In a small saucepan, heat the apricot jam until smooth and melted. Brush the crust with the jam to seal it. Reserve ½ cup of fruit for the glaze, and arrange the remaining fruit in a decorative pattern in the tart shell. Set aside while you make the glaze.
Cut the reserved fruit into coarse pieces and place in a saucepan. Add the ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Boil until the fruit is soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a strainer set over a bowl. Mash the fruit with a wooden spoon and press against the solids to extract as much of the juices as possible. Discard the solids. Add enough water to the strained juices to make 1 cup.
In a saucepan mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Slowly add the strained juice and mix well. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken and becomes clear, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Using a pastry brush, coat the fruit in the tart shell with the glaze, letting some of the glaze run down between the fruit. Chill the tart for at least 2 hours.
To serve, slice the tart and place a dollop of mascarpone on the side of each serving, if you wish.
Note: Nutmeg is optional in the tart shell; some Italian chefs use grated lemon rind.
Variation: A thin layer of mascarpone can be spread over the crust before the fresh fruit is added.
This recipe is from Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito.
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