Anyway, when her birthday rolled around and she asked for a fruit pie for dessert, I fudged a little and created this tart. We'd talked about the Bottletree tart for the last year and could never decide if the ginger was in the crust, the filling, or both, or if the filling was jam or a homemade conserve, and I still can't remember if there was a little pastry heart in the center. I'm kinda thinking there was, famous as this town can be for irony. But I consulted a few recipes and came up with this dessert. It's not exactly like the tart we had last year: I used a crumb crust made out of gingersnaps instead of short pastry or shortbread, and the punch of ginger was not as strong, though I will say that the day after the birthday party, the leftover tart had quite a kick. Let it sit a day, I learned. I also added some orange to the jam, which Dan loved and I am on the fence about.
Note: To press tart dough or crust into the tart pan, use your hand to lightly press it down, then a flat-bottomed measuring cup to push it into the corners and create an even edge. (See below.)
6-7 oz. gingersnap cookies (about 3o cookies)
2 T granulated sugar
4 T room temperature butter
1 cup of raspberry preserves, seeded or seedless
1/4 tsp. orange zest (opt.)
1 T fresh squeezed orange juice (you can also use lemon juice and no zest)
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. sugar (to taste)
1/8 cup sliced toasted almonds
To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Pulse the gingersnaps and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. If any large pieces remain after pulsing, break them up with your fingers. Otherwise, they will prevent the crust from combining smoothly. Add the room temperature butter and pulse until everything is combined.
Dump the crust mixture into a 9-inch nonstick tart pan with a removable bottom, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. (Place this pan on a baking sheet to make it easier to lift in and out of the oven.) Press it down lightly with your fingers. Once it is distributed over the bottom of the pan, use a flat-bottomed measuring cup to smooth it out and press it into the edges. This way, you won't end up with thick crust in the corners of the pan.
Bake the crust for 12 minutes at 350 F. You should be able to smell the gingersnaps and the crust should be a few shades darker. Allow the crust to cool before pouring in the filling.
To make the filling:
Scrape the jam into a small saucepan over low heat and add the rest of the ingredients: orange zest and juice, fresh and ground ginger. Stir often. Taste the filling when it has heated--if it needs some sweetness, add some granulated sugar (some jams and oranges are more tart than others). Once the filling is steaming but not bubbling, turn the heat off. Continue to stir often as you allow the mixture to cool. Once it has cooled slightly, pour it into the cooled crust. Smooth it out with a rubber spatula until it is even, then place the tart in the refrigerator to chill until set. (Keep the tart on the baking sheet to avoid breaking the tart by accidentally pressing up on the removable bottom before it has chilled.) Sprinkle the top with almonds when it has cooled slightly, if desired. It is better served the next day--the ginger flavor develops more.
Note: I cannot decide on the best method for this dessert. You can also bake the tart in a 375 F oven instead of heating up the jam and then chilling the tart. If you choose this method, still prebake the tart crust (placing the tart pan on a baking sheet for the duration of both baking processes) and let it cool. Meanwhile, mix the jam in a small bowl with the fresh and ground ginger and orange. Spread this in the cooled tart crust and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow the tart to cool on the baking sheet completely before trying to remove it from the pan. It will also hold together better if you chill it for 8 hours after baking and cooling. Try to remove the bottom of the tart pan by wedging a thin spatula between the tart and the bottom, keeping the tart close to the platter so you can simply slide it off without breaking it.