What is it about diminutive little desserts that are so irresistible? I don’t know if it’s because you know that you can have several without a second’s consideration, or that they are the cute baby kittens of the dessert world. Or that since you know they are gone after two bites, you enjoy them all the more? In any case, these were probably one of my most successful exploits in the Modern Baker Challenge, and even though I’m a bit late completing this assignment, here is definitely a case of better late than never.
Actually, I knew these were going to be delicious, and probably a top five. Raspberries are probably my favorite berry (not unlike Karen), and my love of marzipan is well enough known that my Christmas stocking is always bursting with the stuff each year. (Santa is on the ball!) Why the delay then? Making 24 tartlets seemed a bit daunting. Plus I wasn’t sure about how excited I was to work with the sweet nut dough again–I’d had issues the last time around with stickiness and generalized uncooperativeness.
Step by step then: the dough was easier to work with this time. I gave it time to properly chill and probably am just a bit more experienced with working with dough in general. (As I knew that I could always resort to pressing in the dough, I was a bit more relaxed about the whole adventure). Not having a set of biscuit cutters, I started using a baby bottle rim to cut out the dough, which turned out to be a bit too small. Using a larger lid ended up working, but re-rolling the dough ended up warming it so much that it was unworkably sticky. Back to the fridge to cool off. So in short I made it a bit more difficult than it needed to be, but it got done. All 24 pieces. Ugh.
This was sort of the story of these tarts–no particular step was hard, but there were a lot of them, and each step was repeated 24 times. 24 tart shells, 24 dollops of jam in the base, 24 times nestling in raspberries, 24 generous spoonfuls of almond filling, 24 sprinkles of sliced almonds.
But then I could bake them off. I wasn’t able to perfectly cover the berries with the filling and sliced almonds as directed, but it didn’t seem to matter. And while it will seem ridiculous to admit that I used frozen berries in August (when I live 10 minutes from an organic raspberry pick-your-own operation), I did. It added about 10-15 minutes to the baking time, but worked out perfectly.
I took these into work as I couldn’t trust myself around them. What was the reaction? The day after I brought them in people were still dropping by my office to tell me how wonderful they were, and others who heard about it and missed out demanded to know why I hadn’t informed them. I then got some gentle inquiries as to whether I would be planning to do any baking over the three-day weekend.
Lesson is that raspberry almond tartlets can make you very popular in the office. But office politics may be complicated if you don’t have enough for all, and you may end up getting some extra “assignments.” With these delicate considerations, you may just opt to hoard them for yourself.