Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Apricot Almond Tart

Apricots just scream SUMMER! I don't know if it's official apricot season but these are in the stores now, looking ripe and luscious and ready to eat. I found my apricots at Farm Boy, but then all the best produce in Ottawa is to be found there. I don't even find it more expensive for produce there, and even when you think you're paying more, the quality always rises to the occasion.

I seem to be in pie / tart / pastry mood lately. I don't know why, I mean, I love to bake and to me showing off perfectly beautiful fruit or vegetables or bacon just seem to taste better to me wrapped in buttery pastry. And, pastry is not tricky to make, it's just about being respectful to the dough, whatever dough you are working with at the time. Work quickly, and keep it as chilled as possible. Most are pretty forgiving, the only one you have to surrender to is filo, but even after a while with some practice, you can master the filo dough.

This recipe is a touch "involved", so read through, give yourself some time and then enjoy the amazing results. My friend described the filling as almost a pecan pie type of filling, whereas I thought I had undercooked it at first. Oops!

Apricot Almond Tart
Makes one 8-inch tart
Only very very slightly adapted from Marta Stewart Living, June 2010 edition

3/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons ground almonds, toasted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 large egg yolk
pinch salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light con syrup
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons amaretto (or other almond flavoured liqueur)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2lbs apricots, halved and pitted
icing sugar to dust
whipped cream, to serve

To make crust: Beat butter and icing sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add flour, ground almonds yolk and pinch of salt, mix until dough comes together. I admit, I added a splash of ice water here as I got impatient and I didn't want to overwork the dough. Press into the bottom and sides of an 8" fluted tart pan with removable base and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325F.

To make filling: heat butter in a saucepan over medium high heat until browned 3-4 minutes. There will be floaty bits in the butter - that's OK. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat yolks, corn syrup and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in browned butter (with floaty bits), amaretto, cream and vanilla. Mixture will be thick, but pourable. Mine was totally pourable, not really that thick at all.

Transfer tart shell onto a baking sheet. Pour in filling to reach halfway up the sides. Bake until crust is golden brown and crisp, and centre is set but slightly soft, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

When tart is cooled, working in a circle and pressing into the filling, top tart with apricot halves. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream.


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