Jennie Lorenzo was raised in Manila, the Philippines, but she understands the San Francisco psyche. "People here prefer artisanal foods," she says. "If I do something strange, it won't be a top seller." To stay creative, she morphs the classics, like this riff on the French gâteau basque, a dense cake of almond custard and cherries.
Dessert Tips from F&W Editors More Excellent Pies & Tarts
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
1 large egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
Cherry preserves, for serving
How to Make It
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter with the turbinado and granulated sugars, the almonds and the egg and beat at medium-low speed until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and orange zest and beat just until a soft dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and flatten it into a disk. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer with the lemon zest. In a medium, heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and flour. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and almond extract (if lumps form, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth). Pour the custard into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the tart dough out to a 13-inch round, 1/4 inch thick. Gently ease the dough into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim any excess dough and patch any holes.
Spread the custard in the shell in an even layer. Bake the tart for about 1 hour, until the pastry is golden and the custard is lightly puffed. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Unmold the tart and cut into wedges. Spoon the cherry preserves on top and serve.
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