Thursday, August 31, 2006

Apricot Tart

I made an apricot tart using the same recipe as the plum tart described here. Only this time I didn't burn it.

The recipe works well for both types of fruit. It's not quite as juicy with apricots as with plums, even though I added all the accumulated juices from marinating the fruit with the sugar. But it's juicy enough.

The apricots were beautiful and at first I thought it was a shame not to eat them fresh. However their taste and texture was disappointing when I bit into one raw. But baking really brought out their flavor and when eating the tart you wouldn't have guessed I had used pretty but disappointing fruit.

The crust recipe I used is from Pierre Hermé, though I don't use his mixing technique.

Recipe: Pâte sucrée
Inspired from: Pierre Hermé

For about 600g of dough
- 1/4 vanilla bean (or 1/2 teaspoon powdered vanilla)
I used 1 packet of vanilla sugar, and I'm sure a teaspoon of vanilla extract would be fine too
- 150g soft butter
- 95g confectioners sugar
- 250g flour
- 2 "pinches" of salt
I use about 1/4 teaspoon
- 1 egg
- 30g ground almonds

In the original recipe, the mixing technique involved rubbing the butter in the flour + salt with the palms of your hands, making a well, breaking the egg into the well, adding the vanilla and the almonds, and mixing with the tips of your fingers. Instead I used the following technique, which perhaps doesn't give the same sandy texture, but is easier, even with a hand-held mixer like mine.

1. Beat the butter till creamy.
2. Add the sugar and vanilla (seeds only if you're using a vanilla bean), and mix well.
3. Add the egg and beat till smooth
4. Add the flour in which the salt has been mixed, and add the almonds, and mix as little as possible but until the mixture looks uniform and like it wants to form a ball.
5. Roll it in a ball -- it's sticky -- and wrap and refrigerate
6. I usually roll it almost immediately, while it's still soft, between two sheets of parchment paper, and then refrigerate or freeze the rolled-out dough still sandwiched in paper until it forms a hard slab
7. I then form my crust. I've taken to cutting out a circle using my tart ring as a big cookie cutter, putting the circle of dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and replacing the tart ring around it. To make the walls of the crust I cut thin strips in the remaining dough and line the edges of the ring. More here.
8. Again, chill the dough before adding the fruit and baking. I actually often freeze the dough at this stage.
I don't know how orthodox all of this is, but it seems to work for me.

The only thing I might do differently next time is to make shorter walls on the tart crust. I'm not sure why I persist in making the dough higher than my tart ring. The result is slightly wavy edges rather than a perfectly smooth circle.


Claudia said...

Your apricot tart looks delicious! The apricots look so sweet and juicy. Looking at them I could walk right into the kitchen and start baking. But it's late in the evening ...

J said...

hi astrid, what a picture perfect apricot tart! i love how you took pains to caramelise the fruit so gorgeously...

Astrid said...

Claudia - Thanks! Baking the apricots really did improve them from their rather bland raw flavor

J - Thanks also! Actually, I didn't do anything special to caramelize the apricots (I don't have a crème brulée torch for instance), it just happened, which is great. Maybe tossing the fruit with sugar before laying them in the tart shell helped?

mrbarr said...

You are the best! I've been looking for a good recipe for these plum (and apricot) tarts friends made for me in Geneva years ago FOREVER! All the US and French fruit tart recipes use uncooked, painted for sheen, fruit. But for my money nothing is better than these summer fruits cooked in a custardy filling on a firm, flaky pastry. Will let you know how it turns out. -Mike in Barcelona

Astrid said...

Hi Mike in Barcelona. Glad you like the looks of this tart. But no custard in this recipe, it's just the fruit baked on a crust. Let me know how you like it if you make it!