Chez Panisse Almond Tart

I've had my eye on this tart ever since my bff J made it on her blog. Then I read about it at the source, David Lebovitz's blog. You can't go wrong with him, he simplified the macaron and I use a variation of his recipe to this day.

This tart was apparently the most popular dessert item at a California restaurant he worked at called Chez Panisse. But it was eventually take off the menu because it's near impossible to eat with a fork. I guess that doesn't work in a fancy restaurant... but it still works for me.

This is a simple but super annoying recipe. It's so sticky! I flung pieces of it everywhere just trying to cut it.
The dough itself is also sticky, and the filling is heavy cream mixed with sugar and some amaretto, which then caramelizes into yummy goodness in the oven. But beware, you have to place foil or something under the tart even in the oven because it drips and leaks.

The tart reminds me a bit of the 7-layer bar I used to make... you know, minus all the those layers...  it's similar to almond brittle/bark... sweet but not overly so and can be addicting. 
I took this to my classmates and they enjoyed it very much. One of them said it reminded them of a certain Christmas dessert but couldn't pinpoint which one.
J cut down on the sugar when she made it, but I made it the original way.

Not sure I'd go to all this trouble again, but it's worth trying once and must be tried if you like amaretto, almond extract, or almonds!

Chez Panisse Almond Tart
From here:

1 cup (140 g) flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz, 115 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
1 tablespoon ice water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Mix all these ingredients together with a food processor, or just use your hands, like I did. It can get a little messy but it's the best way to make a cohesive dough without a processor (an electric mixer doesn't do the job as well).
When the dough comes together, press it into a greased 9in tart pan.
This dough cannot be rolled but must be pressed in with fingers, and it can get a little sticky.
Save some little bits of dough for when it bakes and there are little gaps in the crust (and there will be).
After pressing in the dough, put the tart pan in the fridge until chilled thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until it is light golden-brown.
Remove from the oven and patch any holes with more dough.
For the tart filling
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (80 g) sliced almonds (I prefer unblanched, but either is fine)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier or Amaretto
In the oven, line the rack below the rack used for the tart with aluminum foil.

Heat the heavy cream, sugar and salt until boiling, until it foams up. Then remove it from heat and add in the almonds, extract, and liquor.
Scrape the filling into the tart shell.
Bake about 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to make sure there are no clumps of almonds. 
Take a spatula and break the top of the tart occasionally to avoid clumps. 
Remove the tart from the oven when the filling is the color of coffee with a light touch of cream in it and there are no large pockets of gooey white filling, about 30 minutes. Let the tart cool a few minutes on a cooling rack.
Use a knife to loosen the tart and place it on a solid object so you can coax the ring off. 
Lebovitz's notes:
Serve in small wedges either as a dessert, or as a cookie-like accompaniment to fresh fruit, bowl of ice cream or sorbet, or a compote.
Advanced Planning: The dough can be made in advance, and chilled (maximum 4 days) or frozen longer. The dough, once pressed in the tart pan, can be frozen. Wrap in plastic if you don’t plan to bake it within 48 hours. Once made, the tart should be kept at room temperature. If not eaten the same day, wrap in plastic wrap. The tart is best the first day but can be kept for up to 4 days.


  1. this looks beautiful! although it seems like its a lot of trouble. I do love anything with almonds so, i will probably end up having a go at it myself! :)

  2. Just dropping by to let you know I made this lovely little tart the other day and I used your post as a reference to aid the making of it. It really is delicious isnt it! Mine wasnt half as pretty as yours but was very yummy :)

    Heres the post about it if you are interested, thanks again!


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