I first read about this tart this summer in an old issue of Saveur that I grabbed off a coffee table at Noah’s parent’s house in Martha’s Vineyard as we decamped for the beach one morning. It was part of a spread about travelling in Corsica, which made me want to book my tickets immediately. Instead I earmarked the page and then, of course, left the magazine a full ferry ride away not to be seen again until next summer.
Luckily it’s 2013 and all recipes are online so when I finally got around to making it was not next summer but a few days after Christmas. Instead of eating it on an island beach, as intended by its origin story and my discovery of it, we ate it in the Adirondack mountains after a hike through the snow and with a side of whisky and tea.
Flavor-wise this seemed appropriate. This tart, which is nutty and citrusy, comes close to tasting like a fruit cake, without being overly heavy, overly sweet, or overly gross. (I do not like fruit cake.)
When it comes out of the oven this tart is pretty crumbly but it sets as it cools. I actually think it tastes better on days two and three when it becomes almost like a nutty short-bread biscuit. It also travels well as long as you keep it on its pan.
The original recipe calls for mixing blanched almonds in to the batter, but a childhood of popping almonds out of their skin for my mother’s Christmas cookies has made me loath to ever blanch another almond so I skipped it. To be honest, I find it tough to imagine how this tart would hold together if it had whole almonds to crumble around so I’m glad I left them out.
Happy New Year!
Chestnut Flour Tart: (ever so slightly adapted from May 2012 Saveur)
Note: It took me a while to find chestnut flour. I found it at the second Whole Foods I checked though so it’s not impossible. One of the things that is nice about chestnut flour, as opposed to other nut flours, is how smooth it is. You don’t end up with a grainy cake despite the crumbles.
– 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– Zest from 1/2 an orange
– 2 cups chestnut flour
– 1/ 4 cup sliced almonds
* Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
* Melt butter (saving butter wrappers to grease pan).
* Grease 10 inch pan and set aside.
* Mix melted butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and orange zest together until smooth.
* Slowly add two cups of chestnut flour to butter/sugar mixture until you have a smooth, thick batter.
* Spread batter on buttered pan and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
* Bake until browned and set. In my oven this took closer to 35 minutes than the 25 the original recipe called for. It can be difficult to tell when the cake is set because the batter is so thick to start with. I recommend checking on it after 25 minutes but waiting to take it out of the oven until the top of the cake has changed to a warmer shade of brown than the batter and the edges look pretty dark.