My first encounter with Mazariner or Swedish almond tarts was in my mormor’s (granny’s) kitchen, she was invariably baking one thing and another. I recall being given the task of icing, not too taxing for an eager to help 6 year old. Traditionally made in oval tins, they’re a delicate balance of buttery pastry and an almond filling, topped with a glace icing, often flavoured with lemon.
Mazariner (singular mazarin) are said to be named after the Italian cardinal and diplomat Jules Mazarin (1602-1661) exactly why is unclear. It’s said that Mazarin was a food lover, who together with Anne of Austria (Queen of France 1643-1651), with whom he had good relations, was one of the few Italians who extensively popularised pasta throughout France. It is then hardly surprising that these tarts have his name and found their way in variations across Europe.
They may seem daunting to make however they’re remarkably easy. The pastry is so soft and pliable, it’s simply pressed into shape in the mould. Just neaten up the edges, add the filling, next pop in the oven to bake for approximately 15 minutes.
There are many variations on the theme. My twist is the addition of raspberry with the lemon icing. Another idea is to add a teaspoon of lemon curd in the pastry case, then top with the almond filling, for a little extra zing. I have done the same with blood orange curd. The possibilities are endless.
I highly recommend you bake a batch of these enticing tarts, brew a big pot of coffee, grab a book or a good friend and sit back and relax. After all, it’s what fika is all about.
- Stanard muffin tin
- 120 g plain flour
- 15 g caster sugar
- 80 g butter cold & diced
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbls water
- 100 g blanched almonds
- 50 g icing sugar
- 1 tbls egg white
- 150 g almond paste
- 75 g butter room temperature
- 1 tbls caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 100 g icing sugar
- 1 Tbls lemon juice
- 1 Tbls freeze dried raspberry powder sifted to remove the seeds or a little raspberry puree
- 2-3 unsalted pistachios optional
- A food processor is the fastest method for this. Place the flour, sugar and the diced butter in the bowl and pulse. Now add the egg yolk and water, pulse until the dough just begins to come together. Remove and shape into a neat ball, wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Pulse the skinned almonds in a food processor to a coarse crumb, don’t over mix as they will become claggy. Place in a bowl and add the egg white and icing sugar. Stir until it starts to come together like a dough, you may need to add a teaspoon of cold water. Press into a sausage shape, wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
- While the dough is chilling, get to work on the almond filling…
- Grate the almond paste into a medium size bowl or free standing mixer. Add the butter and sugar, beat until smooth. Crack the egg into a small bowl and light whisk with a fork. Add a third of the egg to the almond mixture and beat. Repeat until all the egg is added. The filling is now ready.
- Now for lining the moulds; simply take a small piece of pastry and press and pinch into the muffin moulds or for a neater look roll and stamp out rounds with a cutter.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan
- Fill each tart with rounded tablespoon of filling or just over two thirds full. Place in the centre of the oven for 15- 20 minutes or until the tops turn a crisp golden brown.
- In a bowl, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice gradually, making sure that the consistency remains fairly thick. Remove one third and add the sifted freeze dried raspberry powder. Poor a dessert spoonful of lemon icing on each tart, then follow with a teaspoon of raspberry icing. Swirl with a cocktail stick. Leave to set for an hour or so. Grate a little pistachio over the top of each tart.