Rick Stein's Apricot Tart
This is a celebration of the apricots I saw in Périgueux market in early September. There can’t be a better time to visit such a market. Peaches were still in abundance, as well as boxes of ripe plums, reines claudes, which we know as greengages, misshapen apples with their leaves still on the stalks, and boxes of pale golden muscat grapes, but the apricots were particularly glorious in their orange skins sometimes blushed with red. Ever since reading Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi for O-Level, I’ve associated apricots with sensuousness. The duchess is secretly pregnant and greedy for them. ‘…her tetchiness, and most vulturous eating of the apricocks, are apparent signs of breeding’, says the malcontent Bosola. I do a lot of tarts like this one because of the ease of ready-made all-butter puff pastry. Here, I have just put some ground almonds in the base to absorb the juice which will come out of the fruits when baking, then dusted the apricots with icing sugar before they go in the oven to caramelise. The tart is finished with a glaze of warm sieved apricot jam. Cold crème fraiche is the only accompaniment to this.
|275g||all-butter puff pastry|
|4 tbsp||ground almonds|
|450g||fresh ripe apricots, stoned and cut in halves or quarters, depending on size (or use tinned apricots)|
|2 tbsp||icing sugar|
|6-8 tbsp||apricot jam|
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.
Roll out the pastry into a long bar shape measuring about 15 x 35–40cm and transfer it to a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, score all around the pastry about 1.5cm in from the edge, but take care not to cut all the way through to the base. You just want to allow a border to rise around the fruit.
Sprinkle the ground almonds over the pastry within the score lines. Arrange the apricots, cut side up, over the ground almonds, keeping them tightly packed. Dust the apricots with the icing sugar.
Bake the tart for 25–30 minutes until the apricots are tender and caramelised and the pastry is risen and golden. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Warm the apricot jam over a low heat, then pass it through a sieve before brushing it liberally over the tart to glaze. Serve with crème fraiche.