Thursday, October 29, 2009

the mark bittman minimalist club: lemon almond dessert frittata

Do you remember the Mark Bittman Minimalist Club? The one I'm the president of?

God, it feels so good to be president of something. So good, that instead of invading a country, my first act as president was to make dessert.

This week's addition to the Mark Bittman Minimalist Club of which I am the president is what Mark Bittman called a Pan-Baked Lemon Almond Tart. However, my second act as president was to change the name of this dessert to Lemon Almond Dessert Frittata.

The first time I made a Lemon Almond Dessert Frittata, I was at my Greek stepmother's. The wine was flowing, the bass pumping (my Greek stepmother likes to listen to her music so loud the realtor trying to sell the condo unit next to hers has complained), the lovely neighbor and her adorable baby visiting, and I completely forgot the frittata in the oven. It all turned out fine and everyone liked it (see "wine was flowing" above), but I thought I'd try it again, this time using a timer and making one little adjustment.

Lemon Almond Dessert Frittata
adapted from the New York Times

4 eggs
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
heaping ½ cup ground almonds
½ cup cream
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoons butter
powdered sugar, for garnish

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, ground almonds, cream, and lemon zest and juice.

2. Melt butter in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat; when foam has subsided, add batter to pan, tilting pan to distribute evenly. Continue to cook tart on stovetop until edges just begin to set, then put pan in oven and finish cooking, about 10 to 15 minutes more.

3. When tart is done, put it in broiler for about a minute or until just golden on top [for god's sake, pay attention; things under the broiler burn rather quickly, or so I've been told]. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve.

Pay attention, my loyal subjects. I'm still addressing you.

As president of the Mark Bittman Minimalist Club, here are my thoughts on this recipe: It's incredibly easy. It's nicely custard-y and lemony, if a tiny bit sweet for my taste. My Greek stepmother is nuts for it. But that's a problem, too: Not my stepmom's love for it, the nuts. The original version included slivered almonds, which I found ... distracting. And even with just the ground almonds, I wasn't in love with the texture. Also, it cracks on the plate.

But I'll make it again (next time I'm going to grind the shit out of those almonds), and I would even serve it to guests: presidents of other elite cooking clubs, minions, etc. In the meantime, however, I'm going to attempt a hostile takeover of a student council and start a company: the more things I'm president of, the better.


  1. I'll make you President of the sovereign land (well, it's more a principality I suppose)known as "My New House" if you come to my event next Saturday at the Vermont National Country Club. Hell, I'mm make you President of the Vermont National Country Club. Just be there would you? My guest list is sorely lacking in Yachtsmen and Presidents.

  2. Those of us who don't need therapy for texture issues, really loved the addition of slivered almonds. And I would never have tried this fabulous dessert if the president of The Mark Bittman Minimalist Club hadn't insisted on it. It's my new favorite...with or without the slivered almonds.

  3. I'll make brussels sprout, bacon, and figs with you. Curious to see if my kids (or husband) would eat it. But you know, I'm a joiner.

  4. I actually made the brussels sprouts this weekend (and will posting about it here later this week). My husband did, in fact, try a bite. One bite.