Fregolata – sounds fancy, doesn’t it? I love the way the word rolls off the tongue. I find myself saying it in an accent as I make it. This looks fancy, too, because it is made in a 10 inch tart pan. But it’s not – it’s almost embarrassingly easy, nothing more than a five ingredient shortbread pressed into the pan, spread with a little jam and a few almonds.
But wait! Easy as it is (it doesn’t even have to be rolled) this is one impressive tart. From the jewel like colors of the jam to the toasted almonds and on to the slighty golden brown crust, this will have all your friends thinking you’re a serious baker. Five minutes to make? One bowl? A jar of jam that’s been languishing in the fridge door? “Don’t tell…seriously, don’t nobody want to hear that.”
Yeah, let them think you’re a genius in the kitchen! A veritable Goddess or God! Because when they taste this…when you taste this…everyone’ll know you are, including yourself. Besides, it does take a certain genius to recognize how sometimes the simplest of things are very simply transformed into something that is somehow more.
One note on this: With a thin, easily spreadable jam you can probably get away with as little as 1/3 of a cup. I like to be a bit more generous, though. With a very chunky jam that doesn’t spread as easily, you may need a cup or more. Don’t go too heavy on the jam, though. Less really is more, and too much will not allow the jam to slightly concentrate, dry a little and caramelize ever so slightly.
Note: another alternative to using a jam or preserves is to use the Sour Cherry Compote I posted awhile back. I simply drained a lot of the moisture off using a slotted spoon. This is shown in the photo. This will, of course, alter your price a bit.
Fregolata Tart with Jam and Almonds, serves 8
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened (3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 to 1/2 (or more) cups of jam or preserves. (more if chunky.)
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
Use a 10 by 1″ tart pan with removable bottom. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, three to four minutes. Beat in extract and salt. Add flour and mix on low speed util mixture forms large crumbs and the butter is pretty much equally incorporated into the the flour. Scrape up from bottom once or twice during this procedure.
Remove 1/4 cup of crumbs and refrigerate while working with the rest of the recipe.
Dump crumbs into tart pan and spread out fairly evenly, a bit thicker on the edges. Beginning on edges, bring part of the crumbs up the sides of the pan (you may go only partway up the sides) to form an edge. Use your finger to lightly press around the edge to give it a clean, even look. No need to be overly fussy, here.
Spread the rest of the crumbs into an even layer. You may need to work a few more towards the edges to compensate for the crumb you took to put on the sides. Lightly press down with your fingers, creating a layer as smooth as possible. You’ll notice it is coming together as a dough as you do this.
Fill with jam or preserves. The chunkier the preserves, likely the more you will need, but try to keep the layer thin and even.
Sprinkle the refrigerated crumbs over the top, then sprinkle with almonds.
Bake on a cookie sheet for 30 – 40 minutes until crust is lightly browned and the jam or preserves have started to dry a bit. Cool pan on rack, then remove sides. Serve warm or cold. May sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
This would be a very easy recipe to double and freeze one, before being baked. You’d need two tart pans and a surface to go on the bottom, perhaps a cut down frozen box or pizza round? Another time saving strategy would be to make the dough and crust the previous day, wrap well and refrigerate, then proceed to bake the next evening, perhaps while dinner is on the table or in the afternoon prior.
An additional savings would be to make this without the almonds, but they really are good in this.
- Flour: Buy around any holiday when it is on a great sale price, especially the winter Holidays. I freeze all flour products when I bring them into my home for three days to avoid any issues. The five-pound bags are often much less expensive than the larger bags and are on sale so often, that it isn’t necessary to buy the larger bags unless one does a lot of baking. Sometimes coupons are available for the brand names during the sales. 5 pounds for $1.55 (Aldi’s) is about 17 cups, unsifted, 9 cents a cup. Cost for the recipe 15 cents.
- Butter: A bit of a splurge, cost and calorie wise – but for taste and health, I’d rather use real butter than trans fat laden margarine or oils. Yes – they do have trans fat, even if the label says they don’t. Harvard, for instance, says unequivocally: “The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats and to avoid trans fat.” While butter isn’t a healthy fat, many feel that trans fat is worse than saturated. Buy on deep specials, often around the holidays with store coupons. I shoot for $2.50 a pound and freeze, where it stays fine for months. Cost for this recipe: 94 cents.
- Sugar: Often on sale before any Holiday, especially at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I’m not a heavy year round baker, so I try to stock up at these times. You’ll especially see the smaller bags on sale. I look for prices of $1.49 to $1.69 per pound, on sale, and often with a manufacturer’s coupon or a store coupon. 1 pound = 2 cups average = $.42, so one third cup is 7 cents.
- Vanilla or other Extracts: Believe it or not, liquor is often cheaper than vanilla or many extracts, but there is a strategy to buying on the cheap: for the past few years McCormick has had great coupons combined with Catalina offers (buy so many, get a coupon back to get so much money off your next grocery purchase, always in the Spring.) Check your coupon matching sites weekly so you don’t miss this – it’s often unadvertised. Your store will likely have the best sales, then, too. I never thought of Vanilla or extracts as being seasonal before…but now I get free if I buy several smaller packages. I’ll count it as about 10 cents.
- Jelly, Jam or Preserves: Any good couponer knows not to pay more than a dollar for a jar of the above, unless it is something very special. Watch your coupon matching site for great sales and coupons; one of the best times to buy is in late summer or fall. Cost for 1/2 cup is about 50 cents.
- Almonds: It’s really worth while to look at alternatives to your grocery – I often buy at Aldi’s or our Mill’s Fleet Farm – which is a farm supply store with all sorts of products – everything from saddles to outdoor furniture. Sometimes the drug stores (Walgrees, CVS, etc.) have good prices. If you have a “nut supply” house in your area, their prices can’t be beat. In the regular grocery store, check the baking aisle, the snack aisle and the bulk aisle – and check for coupons, too, on some nuts. I also stock up around Christmas and freeze my nuts. I look for a price of $4.99 a pound, but almonds are some of the pricier of the nuts, especially the fancy sliced ones, and I last paid about $6.99 a pound. so the cost for 1/3 cups (2 1/2 ounces) is $.70.
358 Calories, 21g fat, 4g protein; 36g carb; 1g fiber; 47mg cholesterol; 249mg sodium.
Put Your Own Spin on It:
This recipe can be varied so many ways! Use your imagination and come up with different combinations of jam or preserves and different nuts. Of course, the bit of extract can also be varied, too, to complement whatever flavors you choose.