Our fair Barony’s Arts & Sciences officer issued a pie challenge for our meeting this month, and I chose this pie to redact because I adore the combination of almonds and rosewater and I was intrigued by a custard-like pie filling with no eggs.
From The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin, 1594
To make a tarte of Almonds
Blanche Almonds and beat them, and straine them &c, with good thicke Creame, then put in Sugar and Rosewater, and boyle it thicke: then make your paste with Butter, fair water, and the yolks of two or three Egs, and as soone as you haue driven your paste, cast on a litle Sugar, and Rosewater, and harden your paste afore in the Ouen. Then take it out, and fill it, and set it in againe, and let it bake till it be well, and so serue it.
This redaction is absolutely for a feast, not for an artsci entry!
Tarte of Almonds
1 3/4 c unbleached pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of cold salted butter
1 large egg yolk
2 1/2 tbl very cold water
1 tbl lemon juice
1 8 oz. can Solo almond paste (not marzipan!)
2 c whipping cream
1/4 c sugar
8 drops Laxmi brand rosewater
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter in small pieces with a knife. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until there are no large pieces. Combine the egg yolk, water and lemon juice in a small bowl and whip with a fork. When combined, add all at once to the flour and stir with the fork until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl. Dump it all out on a lightly floured board and pat it all together into a lump. Wrap in paper or plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for one hour.
Take the almond paste out of the can and dice it. Combine the almond paste and cream in a small saucepan and put over LOW heat. Once the cream is hot to the touch, scrape the cream and almond paste into a blender and blend on low/mix just until smooth. Scrape back into the saucepan and heat on low until barely simmering. Stir often, it will scorch! Cook slowly until the color begins to darken and mixture thickens slightly, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Turn the oven on to 375. Roll out the chilled dough and place in a glass pie pan. Crimp the edges or decorate however you wish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the bottom of the crust and poke lightly with a fork to keep it from rising. Bake for 5 minutes or until the edges are firm but not colored.
Mix the rosewater with the filling. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Sprinkle the top evenly with the rest of the sugar. Place back in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 375, then turn down to 350 and bake until the edges of the pie crust are nicely browned and the filling is bubbling. I was hoping that the sugar on top would caramelize but this didn’t happen in my oven… the bottom browned before the sugar on top caramelized. I would try this again at a slightly lower temperature.