Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sweet n' Sour (But Mostly Sweet)

Strawberry and Balsamic Jam Tart with Almonds
I'm taking every opportunity to take advantage of these beautiful spring time strawberries on display in the local produce sections. Sweet and juicy . . . nothing tastes more like the season on my taste buds. My recent desserts had been shifting between pies and shortcakes, so I was looking for something just a little different. Strawberry and Balsamic vinegar make a great pairing and this dessert broke me out of a pasty rut!

- 1 9" buttery pastry crust (check out the crust I used for my Honey Vanilla Plum Tart)
- 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. good quality Balsamic vinegar
- 1 c. sliced almonds

To prepare the jam, place the strawberries, vinegar, and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer gently for 15- 20 minutes. The strawberries will soften and the liquid will thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature before using in the tart. (This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. It's great spread on toast!)

To prepare the tart, take the prepared pastry dough and press firmly into a 9" pastry pan with a removable bottom. Cover in plastic and cool in oven for 30 minutes - 1 hour. Heat the oven to 375˚F. Remove the plastic wrap from the chilled pastry and cover the top loosely with foil, fill with dried beans or pastry weights to keep the dough from puffing up. Bake for 20 minutes until it begins turning lightly browned. Remove foil and weights and allow to cool slightly before filling with prepared jam.

Spoon jam into the crust in a even layer and then sprinkle evenly with sliced almonds. Bake in 375˚F oven for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling has thickened. Remove and cool completely before serving. It's great with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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