Chocolate and Apricot Tart

With contrasting bitter dark chocolate and sweet apricot paste, this dessert recipe is a real treat. The elegant tart is great with yoghurt or crème fraîche.

Introduction

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.

Serves 6

Ingredients

To make the sweet pastry tart shell:
140g plain flour
30g icing sugar
75g chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
180g apricot paste (see Lebanese and Turkish Suppliers) or dried apricots
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
135g unsalted butter
110g dark chocolate (like Valrhona, 70% cocoa solids), broken up 2 large eggs
2 large eggs
60g caster sugar

Essential kit

You will need a 24-cm loose-bottomed tart tin and a blender.

Instructions

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.

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