22/08/2012 by Mark Leach
Living in France has many benefits. Wine under £5 a bottle that doesn’t taste like malt vinegar. The local hypermarket has more cheese than Selfridges food department. And, for the more health conscious of you, fruit is reasonably priced.
Take apricots for example. In Britain a box of eight apricots, chilled as supermarkets only know how, will set you back maybe £3 in Britain. Here you get 5 kilos for £5.
I think 5 kilos can be officially classed as having a glut of apricots. Don’t get me wrong – I’d rather have a glut of apricots than a surfeit of sprouts. It’s just that I’ve only got one apricot recipe, Apricot Tart, and I’ve made at least four in the past month. I’m looking for inspiration and will keep you posted.
In the meantime here is my apricot tart recipe, along with the usual tips on what I’d change next time. Happy de-glutting!
Ingredients (makes a tart with about 6 slices)
1 pack shortcrust pastry
2 medium eggs and 2 medium egg yolks
100g melted or very soft butter
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds or 200g whole, shelled almonds
2 tbsp amaretto, brandy, cointreau or schnapps
16 apricots (approximately – depends on the size of your apricots)
First of all heat the oven to 200°C. Take a 28cm flan case, loose bottomed if you have one but it isn’t essential. Grease your case with plenty of butter.
You’re now going to blind bake your pastry. This will prevent it from going soggy when you add your liquid ingredients. It isn’t essential but I usually do this just to be on the safe side.
Roll out your pastry to fit the case. Tip: Once you’ve rolled it out it helps to put a layer of greaseproof paper on top. That way when you place the pastry in the case (paper side up) you can push the pastry into the corners through the paper, avoiding the pastry itself and any potential hole-making. Now trim the edges off the pastry – it’s easiest to take a rolling pin and run it across the top of the pastry – the edges should just fall off.
Next cover the pastry with baking beans (or use rice or large pasta shells if, like me, you haven’t splashed out on beans yet). Put the pastry case in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Freezing it will help prevent it shrinking when you put it in the oven.
After a quarter of an hour in the freezer put it into the oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges have gone golden. Remove it and place it somewhere to cool.
You’re now going to make the frangipane (almond paste) filling for your tart.
I use my Kenwood mixer for this part but you could easily use a hand mixer or even beat it by hand with a wooden spoon. Put your almonds, butter, sugar, eggs and alcohol into your bowl. Mix until blended together.
Pour the mixture into your tart case. Now cut your apricots in half and remove the stones. Place them cut side up on top of the mixture. Start at the edge and work your way round in a circle until the case is filled with apricots.
Put the tart in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove and leave to cool. If you feel like it you can dust the top with icing sugar just before serving.
I find the tart is best eaten slightly warm. This works best if you serve it with ice-cream, mascarpone or crème fraîche – helps it to melt down the edges!