Strawberry "Pizza" with Almond Cream
1 pint best-quality vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup superfine sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, or 1 Tablespoon Amaretto
1 cup finely ground, blanched almonds (almond meal)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pound fresh or thawed frozen puff pastry
2 pints whole strawberries, stemmed
1 large egg yolk
4 sprigs mint
For the Frangipane, in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, beat the butter
and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the
egg yolks, beat well, then add the almond extract. Remove the beater and stir in
the almonds and flour until evenly blended. The mixture should be the
consistency of a thick paste.
For the pizzas, preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll
out the pastry to a 1/8 inch thickness and, using a plate or cardboard circle as
a template, with a very sharp knife cut four 7-inch circles. Transfer to two
Teflon baking sheets or baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Spread a circle of frangipane in the center of each, leaving
a 1-inch border. Place the strawberries stem end down on the frangipane. (They
should be touching each other so that you can fit as many as possible onto the
circles of frangipane.)
Beat the egg yolk lightly with a fork and brush the border of
the pastry with it. (Try not to let any yolk dribble down onto the cut sides of
the pastry, otherwise it will not rise as high.) Bake the tartlets for 20
minutes, until the edges are golden and the pastry is baked through.
Place a sprig of mint in the center of each pizza and dust them lightly with
confectioners' sugar. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Yield: 4 servings