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Category: Desserts

Mandarin Silken Tart

Fruits, like stocks and clothes, are ruled by the inscrutable laws of fashion. There's no good reason why mandarin oranges--irresistibly sweet, fragrant and flavorful fruits that dominate citrus production in much of Asia and the Mediterranean basin--should account for only ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 6 to 8
Note: From Sherry Yard, pastry chef at Spago Beverly Hills.

Basil-scented mandarins

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 leaf basil, bruised
  • 6 mandarins

Step 1Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool until just warm. Add the basil leaf.

Step 2Peel the mandarins and scrape the pith from each segment. Store the sections in the basil-scented syrup. This keeps them from drying out and gives them a great shine

Almond filo shell

  • 3 sheets filo dough
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped super fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Step 1Cover the filo sheets with a damp cloth when you're not using them.

Step 2In a small bowl, combine the butter and almond extract and stir until smooth.

Step 3Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the almonds on a jellyroll pan and toast until they are fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the almonds from the oven and sprinkle them with the salt.

Step 4Set the first filo sheet on a work surface and brush with some butter. Sprinkle half of the almonds over the top, concentrating on the middle third of the filo sheet.

Step 5Lay a second filo sheet over the top and press down around the edges to seal it to the bottom sheet. Brush the second sheet with more melted butter and sprinkle over the rest of the almonds. Top with the third filo sheet, and press to seal.

Step 6Fold the prepared filo layers into a 9-inch tart pan and carefully trim off the excess dough, leaving 1/2 inch of the dough extending over the edge of the pan rim.

Step 7Bake the shell until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Filling

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mandarin juice
  • 1 tablespoon mandarin zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon tangerine oil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup creme frai^che
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Salt

Step 1Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Step 2Whisk the eggs until they are broken up in a medium mixing bowl.

Step 3Add the sugar, mandarin juice, zest, tangerine oil, creme frai^che, cream, vanilla, lemon juice and a dash of salt and whisk gently until completely mixed.

Step 4Pour the mixture into the prepared Almond Filo Shell and bake until the center is set, about 20 minutes.

Step 5Cool the tart to room temperature and garnish it with the Basil-Scented Mandarins.

Each of 8 servings:
282 calories; 170 mg sodium; 108 mg cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.80 gram fiber.
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