from Many Beautiful Things by Vincent Schiavelli
For the filling of this pie, fine almond meal is mixed with sugar, butter and eggs to create a delicious sweet paste. In former times the almonds were crushed with a mortar and pestle. By using a food processor instead, the time required for this preparation is reduced to minutes.
Due to the time needed for the crust and filling to set, it is best to prepare this pie the day before it is to be served.
Prepare the crust:
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and sugar.
Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, on low speed or by hand, cut or rub in the butter until the flour has the consistency of cornmeal, about 2 minutes.
Lightly beat the egg yolks and quickly work them into the mixture with the mixer or spatula.
Add enough of the milk to form a soft dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it just enough to form a very soft dough with a slightly sticky surface. Depending on climatic conditions, it might be necessary to add some extra sprinklings of flour for the dough to come together. Remember that over kneading pastry dough will make it tough.
Form the dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest, refrigerated, for 2 hours.
Prepare the filling:
Coarsely chop the one pound of almonds in a food processor by pulsing for a few seconds. Add the granulated sugar and process for about one and a half minutes, until the almonds form a very fine meal.
Add the flour and pulse once or twice to mix it in.
Add the butter and pulse a few times until it is thoroughly mixed in.
Combine the eggs with the almond extract in a small bowl and add this to the almond past, pulse to amalgamate.
Transfer the paste to a bowl, smooth the top and refrigerate uncovered for about 1½ hours until well set.
Assemble the pie and bake:
Preheat the oven to 375DegF with rack positioned in the upper third.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to form a 13 inch circle and use it to line a 9 inch springform pan (or a pan with a removable bottom and 2 inch sides).
Coat the bottom of the crust with a thin even layer of marmalade.
Spread the filling over the marmalade in an even layer.
Smooth the top and then score it with the tines of a fork or a pastry tool
Place a blanched almond at the centre of the pie. Starting at the outside edge, cover the top with blanched almonds arranged end to end in concentric circles. There will be space between the last circle and the centre almond revealing the filling.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the crust around the top edge is quite browned.
Cool the pie in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it.
Cool to room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
Just before serving, lightly dust the top with confectioner's sugar.
I used a home made cumquat marmalade which was fabulous.
Also, the 'roll out the dough' and place into the pan was nigh on impossible - the mixture is very buttery and it breaks very easily. I ended up doing a patchwork of dough which didn't detract from the end result one bit! Perhaps (being in Qld and suffering hot weather and high humidity) I was up against it, but don't despair if your pastry doesn't make it off the board in one piece!
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