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Grape Tartlets With Almond Crust
Yield: 8 tartlets

1/4 cup almonds; slivered blanched
1 1/2 cup flour, all purpose salt
3 Tbsp brown sugar; firmly packed
1/2 cup butter; cold, unsalted,1 stick cut
1 large egg; cold
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp lemon zest; freshly grated

3/4 cup apricot preserves
3 Tbsp sherry

3/4 lb grapes; preferably an assortment
1/4 cup almonds, slivered; lightly toasted

Finely grind almonds in a food processor with on/off motion, or
crush with a rolling pin until as finely ground as possible. Add
flour, salt and brown sugar to processor and blend, or combine
ground almonds, flour, salt and brown sugar in a bowl and stir to
blend. Add butter and process or work with the fingertips until
mixture reassembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl beat egg lightly.
Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. With a processor on, add egg
mixture to dough through feed tube and process until dough forms.
Pat dough into ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator
for at least 30 minutes. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide
into 8 equal parts. Press each piece into a lightly buttered 3 to
3 1/2 inch tartlet pan, preferably with removable rim, patting into
an even layer. (The dough will soften as you work with it.) Chill
tartlet shells in freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 400F. remove tartlet shells from freezer, line each
with a square of foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans to
prevent dough from puffing during baking. bake on baking sheet in
center of oven for 10 minutes. remove foil with weights, reduce
oven temperature to 350F, and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes,
or until pastry is a rich, golden brown. Let tartlet shells cool
in pans and place on wire racks to cool completely. To prevent
glaze, combine preserves and sherry in a small saucepan and warm
over medium heat, stirring, until preserves are melted. strain
through a sieve. To assemble tarts, brush tarts on the bottom of
each tartlet shell. arrange grapes, cut sides down, in a decorative
pattern, alternating colors, in the bottom of each pastry shell.
Brush remaining glaze, reheating it if necessary, over grapes and
edges of tartlets. sprinkle toasted almonds over tartlets before
glaze sets. Serve at room temperature.


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