Treat of the Week: Apricot Tart

I had quite a different plan for the TOTW this week, but then something happened.  I was searching the produce section last week and came upon the ephemeral apricots.  The fleeting nature of these fruits means you have to take advantage of them when you see them.  Otherwise, you will be waiting another year... and that would be a shame because they are delicate and delicious. 

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I haven't timed it, but I think they go from ripe to rotten in about a minute.  Armed with that knowledge, I got to work right away on transforming my sack of fruits into a lovely apricot tart.  The recipe is fairly straight forward.  The most difficult part for someone not used to making tarts will probably be getting the crust into the tart pan without mangling it.

I made an almond flavored crust because it complements the apricot filling so well.  I carried the almond flavor further by adding just a bit of extract to some vanilla ice cream to serve on the side.  You could also add just a bit of almond extract to some homemade whipped cream.  Tasty!

There are still apricots left in some markets if you plan to try this recipe...but hurry

savour... delicious deadlines

Get the rest after the jump...

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Apricot Tart

Before you start:

If you prefer, you could use a pastry blender to make the crust.  I sometimes dust mine off and use it.  We did not have a food processor when I was a child.  My mom used a pastry blender for all pie and tart crusts.  It's a little more work, but turns out great.

When rolling out dough be sure to keep some flour on hand to dust the top of the dough for rolling, and to toss under the crust by lifting with a bench scraper.

To make the foil ring I place the tart pan on a sheet of aluminum foil and draw a circle around the base.  Next, I cut out a circle freehand about 1 inch wider than my drawn circle all the way around.  Then I cut another circle out of the center about 1/2 smaller than the drawn circle all the way around.  This method keeps the foil intact and prevents it from blowing around in the oven. 

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Tart Crust

The ingredients:

2/3 cup raw almonds

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 beaten egg

14 tablespoons butter (cold)

pinch of salt

The method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Lightly toast almonds.
  3. Cut butter into small cubes and refrigerate.
  4. Grind up almonds into coarse sand texture.
  5. Add flour, salt, butter, and sugar to food processor and pulse until you get coarse sand consistency again.
  6. Add beaten egg and pulse just until incorporated.
  7. Form dough into flattened disk and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  8. Roll out dough (on a lightly floured surface) into approximately 1/4 inch thickness at least 1 1/2 inches greater than tart pan on all sides.
  9. Fold crust in half and transfer to tart pan.  Then unfold it into place.
  10. Lightly press the crust into the tart form. 
  11. Roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove any excess crust.
  12. Cut a parchment circle to fit into the bottom of the crust.
  13. Fill the parchment lined crust with dry beans.
  14. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
  15. Bake for 20 minutes.
  16. Allow crust to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  17. Remove beans and parchement. 

Tart Filling:

The ingredients:

2 pounds fresh, ripe apricots

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract  

The method:

  1. Turn oven up to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the apricots in quarters.  Discard pits.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly toss cut apricots, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and almond extract.
  4. Let mixture stand for 10-15 minutes (sugar and cornstarch will have dissolved).
  5. Arrange mixture (cut side down) in circles inside the prepared tart crust.
  6. Place foil ring around crust to prevent premature browning.
  7. Bake tart for 45-50 minutes (apricots will be lightly browned and liquid will be bubbly).
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