Home Cooking: Chez Panisse Almond Tart (David Lebovitz)

Lord, this was good!

I first started following David Lebovitz’s website and newsletters when living in Paris. He had wonderful hints for living in Paris, hunting down the best places to eat and buy treats, and great recipes, which always come with a great story about why you should make them.

And the tone of his writing always felt like I was being good advice from a friend: a learned and cultured and quirky friend. I’ve tried a number of his recipes, and when I saw he’d posted this recipe for an almond tart from the restaurant Chez Panisse, well I knew I should try it.

It was not as difficult as it sounded. Granted, the top doesn’t look like the one on his webpage, suffering the ‘cornflake effect’ that he warned against (my husband just said the photo looks like a brain pizza). Then again, a little search of other posts about this recipe seems to show that no two tarts look the same.

I also wondered why I couldn’t just put the cake tin on top of a baking sheet, rather than precariously balancing it on the baking shelf, and then, as I did, spilling some of the filling onto the sheet below (but I dutifully followed the instructions). It took about 50 minutes instead of 30.

I was also curious that it only required 80 grams of almonds (and is called an almond tart), but it’s just the right amount of nuts to float to the top of the gooey, caramel base. The big surprise was how delicious the crust was: buttery and more like a biscuit or cookie than say, a crust for an apple pie. And the combo of crust and filling is perfect too. This was very delicious… I’ll be making it again.

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