Monday 25 November 2013

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Aromatic almond fragrance wafts out from the kitchen and permeates the whole house as these tarts are baking in the oven. A very heavenly smell that makes you want to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea  regardless the time of the day, to enjoy these tarts. It has buttery crust, soft moist filling and nutty taste. Simply irresistible!

I was licking the spatula clean of the almond paste when I made the paste. The almond paste ingredients are processed in the mini food processor and later chilled in the fridge. I got this recipe many years ago and can't quite remember where was it from. I like this recipe because it yields a very soft and pliable paste. Any left over paste can be kept frozen for months.

I would prefer to use raspberry jam for its tart taste but I have only strawberry with me. I always use Dalfour brand of jam for all my bakes. I like that it is not too sweet and runny.

I made a mistake of filling too much, and it didn't look visually appealing as I think it  resembles a short coffee cake rather than a tart. I borrowed Lena's idea to add chopped  pistachio which is very nice, and if I were to make this again, it will be less filling and with extra pistachios.

Italian Almond Tart

1 rolled-out round of tart dough
1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 lb (225g) almond paste, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup sugar (1/8 cup)
2 eggs
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup raspberry,plum or cherry jam ( strawberry jam)
1/3 cup sliced almonds


  • Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2 inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom.
  • Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. 
  • Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan.
  • Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking.
  • Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375F.
  • Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil.
  • If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a wire rack.
  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and reduce the heat to 300F.
  • In a bow, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat the butter until smooth. 
  • Add the almond paste, one piece at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. While continuing to beat, sprinkle in the sugar.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour.
  • Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the partially baked tart shell. spoon in the almond paste mixture and spread evenly over the jam. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sliced almonds.
  • Bake the tart until the filling is golden and the middle is firm to the touch, 35-45 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let the sides fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate.
  • Serve at room temperature.
Almond Paste

2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 egg whites
56g unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons almond extract, optional (did not use)


  • Add all ingredients in the food processor and processor until the mixture forms a soft ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Basic Tart Dough

1 egg yolk
2 tbs. very cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes.


  • To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour,sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
  • To make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour,sugar and salt in the mixer bowl.. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.
  • Transfer the dough to a wok surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
Makes enough dough for one 9 1/2 inch tart, six 4 inch tartlets, twelve 2 inch miniature tartlets or one 133/4 by 4 1/4 inch rectangular tart. I made  three 5 inch tarts and two 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 rectangular tarts)

Linking this post to Bake- Along #55 hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings, Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, and Zoe of
Baking for Happy Kids.

Totally Transformed! Sunday School Children's Camp Day 3
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

The Lord Jesus does not like it when people are proud of their achievements and status. He does not like it when people are self-righteous and look down on others. He tells that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Jesus was directing the parable at people who were self-righteous and looked down on  everybody else. They thought of themselves as better than others. In the parable, the Pharisee thanked God he was not like the robbers, evildoers and adulterers.. and even the tax collector who was also praying in the temple at the same time. In his prayer, the Pharisee bragged about he fasted twice a week and gave a tenth of all he has. While the tax collector recognised and acknowledged his sin and he humbly asked God for mercy.
Let's humble ourselves and be TOTALLY TRANSFORMED1

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted Luke 18:14


  1. good evening lian, you just made it today? that was extremely fast to post it! It's great to know that you made your own almond paste too, something that did not stop you from trying this recipe, and happy to know that it came out good for you.

    btw, your link to our bake along is not working. I noticed that the url is
    are you aware of that?

    1. Good evening to you, Lena. You are also fast to reply. Really appreciate it. Thanks for pointing out the link.

  2. Hi Lian,

    You are FAST!!! You can read our blog, bake and write yours all within the same day!!! - Me speechless!!!

    Yeah... I realise your url is not working at the linky tool too but not to worry!!! I can fix it :D


    1. Thanks for fixing the URL. Oh, I just couldn't wait to try a slice of the tart after reading all the hosts' posts;). Good job! ladies.

  3. Hi Lian, thanks for visiting my site. It is my pleasure to meet you Lian. Hey, your almond tarts are nicely baked. Hope to hear from you more.

  4. Hi Lian,
    Yes, this is one amazing tart! I was eating the whole tart practically by myself, as this is suitable to freeze. Almond paste always makes a moist and delicious bake!
    Thanks for baking along with us!

  5. Hi Lian thanks for leaving a comment in my blog. The pics u took are very sharp and clear...btw what type of camera are u using?

    1. Hi Boh Tong
      Not sure if I have met you before:) I just followed your blog. I am still very amateurish in photography. I use Lumix GF1. Will definitely try to recreate the YMCA oxtail, keep you posted:)


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