If you like almond paste (like I do), then this one is for you! This pie does not appear to be known outside The Netherlands (other than by Dutch people), where it goes by the name "pensée taart". I have not been able to find an explanation as to why the French word "pensée" is in the name...
The pie crust is shortcrust pastry (F: pâte sablée; NL: zandtaartdeeg, D: Sandteig), the filling is mostly almond paste, and there is a thick apricot glaze on top. I jazzed up the dough with ground hazelnuts.
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Bake time: 40 minutes
- Makes 16-20 servings.
- Ingredients for the dough:
- 300 grams (2.5 cups) all-purpose flour (D: type 550; F: type 55)
- 50 grams (2 oz.) ground hazelnuts, or ground caramelized hazelnuts ("pralin")
- 200 grams (7 oz. = 3.5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100 grams (3.5 oz.) brown or dark brow sugar (5-10% molasses)
- In France, use "sucre complet" or "sucre intégral"; second choice: "cassonade" ( = sucre roux de canne); note: "sucre vergeoise" is just beet sugar ( = sucre de betterave) that has been sprayed/coated with caramel coloring!
- 1 package of vanilla sugar (standard 8 grams envelope; with real vanilla, not artificial flavoring)
- pinch of salt
- Ingredients for the filling:
- 300 grams (10 oz) almond paste
- Use paste with at least 50% almonds. Confectioners almond paste is 70% almonds, regular marzipan only 20-30%.
- I use paste with 53% almonds, and mix in 5 rounded tablespoons of ground almonds
- 50 grams (1.75 oz. = 3½ tablespoons = ½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon of heavy cream (in a pinch, whole milk may be substituted)
- Ingredients for the glaze:
- 6-8 tablespoons of apricot jam or preserve
- If using preserve, remove or puree the whole pieces of apricot
- 8 tablespoons powered sugar (F: sucre glace)
EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES
- Large bowl
- Small bowl
- Wire whisk
- Optional: kitchen machine with dough hook
- Rolling pin
- Small sauce pan
- Round pie pan, diameter about 25 cm (10 inch), about 3-4 cm high (1.5 inch)
- Small sharp knife
PREPARATION / DIRECTIONS
- Instructions for the filling:
- Crumble the almond paste into a small bowl, add the butter, egg, and cream, and work into a smooth paste (with a strong fork or by hand)
- Instructions for the pie:
- Put the flour in the large bowl and whisk (to loosen up the flour and to get clumps out, if any)
- Add the rest of the ingredients (ground hazelnuts, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, butter, salt)
- Knead into a smooth dough, by hand or with a kitchen machine
- Cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 °C (320 °F)
- Grease the pie pan with some butter
- Split the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 and form each part into a ball
- Dust the work surface with some flour and roll out the 2/3 dough part until about 5-6 mm thick (1/4 inch), and at least large enough to fully cover the bottom and side of the pie pan
- Transfer the dough sheet to the pie pan and gently push into place
- If you have too much dough for the size of the pan, do not use it up by making the crust thicker!
- Spread the almond paste evenly in the pie pan
- Roll out the 1/3 dough part until large enough to cover the entire top of the pie pan
- Put the dough sheet on top of the pie pan, and close the edges. Cut off any overhanging dough.
- Bake for 40 minutes, then let cool.
- If using the oven's circulation fan, start checking after 30 minutes.
- Instructions for glazing:
- Heat the apricot jam and spread a thin layer all over the top of the pie
- Let cool
- Mix the powdered sugar with some water and mix until smooth. The mix should be thin enough that you can easily brush it over the apricot jam
- Brush the entire pie top with the sugar glaze and let set.
SERVING & GARNISH SUGGESTIONS
- This pie is rather sweet. Serve small slices.
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