As promised, here's a little something to get started on... May not be the most useful recipe of all time as 1) gooseberry season is over, and 2) it's a tad involved for everyday baking, but this concoction turned out better than I could have hoped. You could always substitute some other pleasantly tart/sweet jam instead of gooseberry. Hope y'all will enjoy...
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Gooseberry and Almond Cream Tart
2.25 lb fresh gooseberries
3.75 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Wash the gooseberries, and remove any stems and blossoms. In a non-reactive fairly heavy pan, mix the gooseberries, sugar, and lemon juice, and stir up a bit, mashing the berries a little. Bring the mixture to a boil, and remove from the heat. Pour into a ceramic bowl, and cover with a piece of parchment paper to prevent from oxidizing - refrigerate overnight.
The next day, pour back into the heavy pan and bring to a boil again, cooking for about 10-12 minutes, stirring a bit. Skim off any foam. Return to a boil, and make sure it gets to 221 degrees F, at which point the jam should set properly. Pour the jam into sterilized jars and seal.
1.25 cups flour
0.5 cup confectioners' sugar
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp almond extract (good for this tart, but optional otherwise)
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor, pulsing a bit to mix. Add the butter and pulse until it's totally cut up and mixed into the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and cream until just mixed together, and pour into the food processor. Run it until the dough comes together in a ball. Gather the dough together and place it on a piece of plastic wrap, forming into a 6 inch disk. Wrap up the disk in the plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to overnight until firm.
When firm, roll out on a lightly floured surface until about 12-13 inches in diameter. Roll up onto the outside of the rolling pin, and unroll it into a 9-inch tart shell pan. Fold over the excess dough on top of itself into the inside of the pan, leaving a bit sticking up over the edge of the pan, creating a double thick part running around the edge of the pan. Run a knife around the edge of the tart pan, trimming the excess off flush with the top of the pan. Freeze the crust for 30 minutes until firm.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the frozen crust with aluminum foil and fill it with uncooked rice, dried beans, or ceramic pie weights. Bake the crust in the pan on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Carefully lift out the foil and weights, and return the crust to the oven. Turn down the heat to 350 degrees F, and bake about 5-7 minutes longer until the crust looks dry and is a little golden brown. Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool on a rack.
1 stick plus 3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
7 tbsp flour
Combine the butter and sugar in a mixer, and beat until it's fairly smooth. Add the eggs and continue beating for a few minutes. Mix the flour and almonds together in another bowl with your fingertips, and then pour into the mixer with the sugar, butter, and eggs until fully combined.
Crunchy Almond Topping
1 large egg white
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a few shakes of ground cinnamon
a bit less than that of ground nutmeg
4 oz of slivered almonds (either blanched or unblanched ok)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until white and frothy (this will take a bit of whisking). Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and whisk together. Mix in the almonds and coat them in the mixture. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spread the topping in roughly one layer (or a bit more, just try to avoid big piles), and bake for about 10 minutes, checking constantly that the the almonds don't burn. Take them out when they look just golden brown, and allow to cool on the sheet. Peel off the almonds onto a plate.
Constructing the tart:
Pour about 7 oz of the almond cream into the bottom of the tart crust, and even it out with an offset spatula. Bake the filled tart at 350 degrees F for about 8-12 minutes until the edges of the tart are golden brown and the almond cream is puffed a little and firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Take 1 jar of the gooseberry jam, and spread over top of the almond cream with an offset spatula, and then sprinkle with the crunchy almond topping.
(Cobbled together from Christine Ferber's "Mes Confitures" and "Mes Tartes", "Essentials of Baking" from Williams Sonoma, and "Pastries from the La Brea Bakery" by Nancy Silverton)