1 cup Earl Grey tea, hot
9 ounces Mariani Prunes, halved
1 ½ cups sliced almonds, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brandy
½ teaspoon almond essence (optional)
1 9-inch refrigerated pie dough tart shell
1 teaspoon powdered sugar, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carefully unroll the dough in a 10-inch tart pan, pressing gently into the fluted sides. Line the dough with foil, covering the crust completely. Fill the foil with pie weights, uncooked rice or dry beans. Bake at 425°F until it firms up, 12-15 minutes. The dough will still be pale. Remove the foil and weights, then return to the oven to brown slightly (four to six minutes). Let cool on a rack.
3. Heat the oven to 375°F.
4. In a bowl, pour the hot tea over the halved prunes, and let the fruit rehydrate while you make the almond filling.
5. Put almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse just until ground (be careful not to over process, or the filling will become a hard paste). Add the butter, eggs, brandy and almond essence, if using, and pulse just until smooth.
6. Drain prunes well, pressing out any excess liquid with your hands, and place in the tart shell, more or less in an even layer. Spoon on the almond mixture, smoothing it with the back of the spoon, then sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds over the top. Pull a piece of tin foil large enough to cover the tart pan. Fold it in half and cut out a large circle, slightly less than the size of the tart. Place it over the tart so the foil leaves the middle open and covers the crust. This prevents the crust from burning while the tart cooks.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. Remove the tin foil and bake for another four to five minutes. Dust with powdered sugar, and let cool before serving.