Image from Baking ABC English / Portuguese Children's Book
Legend says that almonds made their way to Portugal because of love. According to the tale, a young king had thousands of almond trees planted in what is now the Algarve to ease the pain of his wife’s homesickness. The blooming trees were meant to resemble the snow from her Nordic home (How The Algarve Got Its Almond Trees • A Portuguese Affair).
The love surrounding almonds in Portugal continues, evident in recipes for tarts, cakes, tortes, and other sweet confections. Part of my preparation for my upcoming tarts class at PCC has included reading a variety of Portuguese almond tart recipes, including this tarte de amendoa recipe from Tia Maria’s Blog and this one by Miguel Carvalho featured on Honest Cooking with Michelle Winner. I’ve also been exploring other almond-inspired recipes including these Bolo de Amêndoa recipes from Leite’s Culinaria and Casa de Frango in London.
Because of the timing and demonstrative nature of my class, I’m working on an almond tart recipe that prepares the filling and crust separately, but brings them together when they set or cool (check out my tests for caramel almond tartlets below). By exposing myself to a variety of almond-inspired recipes, I hope I can carry the Portuguese affection for almonds into a tart recipe that works for my class. Wish me luck!
P.S. If you’d rather just straight up eat some almond sweetness and skip baking for a beat, you can’t go wrong with candy-coated almonds, a popular treat for Easter, weddings, and other celebratory events (a favorite treat of my mom’s when she was growing up on the Azores). You can satisfy a craving and enjoy this symbol of love anytime of year through Portugalia Marketplace’s online shop or Shop Portuguese.