Chocolate and Apricot Tart
For this tart we use amber sheets of apricot paste called ‘amradeen’ or ‘apricot leather’. This Lebanese and Syrian speciality is traditionally used in ice-creams or as an Arab sweet for children. It has a slightly tart finish (although this can vary), which is important so it cuts through the rich chocolate. If you cannot find apricot paste, use dried apricots instead.
|To make the sweet pastry tart shell:|
|140g plain flour|
|75g||chilled butter, cut into small pieces|
|For the filling:|
|180g||apricot paste (see Lebanese and Turkish Suppliers) or dried apricots|
|2 tbsp||lemon juice|
|110g||dark chocolate (like Valrhona, 70% cocoa solids), broken up 2 large eggs|
You will need a 24-cm loose-bottomed tart tin and a blender.
First make the sweet pastry tart shell. Sift the flour and icing sugar together. In a food processor or by hand, blend the butter with the flour until you have a texture similar to fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and mix until the ingredients more or less come together. If the pastry looks too dry add a tiny splash of milk or water. Shape into a ball, flatten slightly, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
When you are ready, grate the pastry (it can be quite hard) on a coarse grater and press it evenly around the edges and base of a 24cm loose-bottomed tart tin to a thickness of 3-5mm. Prick the base and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C / 425F / Gas 7. Bake the tart shell in the top shelf of the oven for 10-15 minutes until light brown. Remove and cool on a rack.
Once the shell has cooled, you can make and cook the filling.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
To start the filling, place the apricot paste in a saucepan over a low heat with the water and lemon juice, and stir until a smooth paste is formed. If using dried apricots, chop them very finely, then transfer to a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes with the same amount of water and lemon (if required) until soft. Purée in a blender. The mixture should taste slightly tart. Spread the apricot on the base of the tart shell, and leave to cool for a short while until the apricot forms a slight skin.
Meanwhile, place the butter and chocolate in a bain-marie and heat. When the chocolate has melted, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Fold the eggs and chocolate/butter together, pour into the tart shell and even out with a spatula. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The filling should still be a little wobbly when you take it out, and have a very thin crust on top. Serve with creamy yoghurt or crème fraîche.