Confession: Eating raw peaches and apricots has never been my thing. Somehow the furry skin just sets my teeth on edge. Cooked fruit, though, is an entirely different matter, and I think peaches, nectarines, plums and especially apricots are amazing in a nutty frangipane filling. As it bakes, the frangipane puffs up around the sweet, tangy fruit, making a very elegant-looking tart. It’s the kind of dessert that makes you think 'Hmm, maybe I could open a bakery!' Serve it with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream, if you want.
Apricot Tart with Frangipane
- Cold salted butter 110 g (4 oz)
- Fine sea salt ⅛ teaspoon
- Plain flour 210 g (7¼ oz)
- Iced water 3 tablespoons, as needed
- Raw almonds 110 g (4 oz)
- Sugar 125 g (4½ oz)
- Double cream 75 ml (2½ fl oz)
- Egg yolks 2 large
- Fine sea salt Pinch
- Apricots 6 to 8
Make the tart dough: Cut the butter into small cubes. Put the butter and salt in a medium bowl, add the flour and toss to coat the butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour – the mixture will look like coarse crumbs with some larger flakes.
You can also pulse the flour and butter together in a food processor until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs with pea-sized bits of butter, then transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Stirring with a fork, sprinkle in the water just until the mixture clumps together and can be gathered into a ball. It should feel something like modelling clay, but not wet. If it’s too dry, mix in more iced water by the half-teaspoon.
Lightly butter a 23 cm (9 inch) tart tin with a removable bottom. Break up the dough into walnut-sized chunks, and with your fingers press it evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the tin, being sure it isn’t too thick where the bottom meets the sides. It should protrude about 3 mm (⅛ inch) above the rim of the tin. Refrigerate the tart shell while the oven preheats.
Keep pressing and spreading the bits of dough with your fingers to join them together and line the tin as evenly as possible.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C Fan).
Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Place the tin on a baking sheet. Line the bottom and sides of the dough with a large piece of baking paper and fill it about halfway with dried beans to hold the paper in place.
Weighting the crust will help keep the sides of your tart shell from slipping down as it bakes. You can reuse the beans for baking; just cool them before storing in a jar or plastic bag.
Bake until the visible edges of the dough look drier and set, about 15 minutes. Remove the tin on the baking sheet from the oven. Lift off the baking paper with the beans and set them aside. Return the baking sheet and tin to the oven and bake until the crust is barely browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Make the filling: Process the almonds and sugar in a food processor until the mixture is finely ground. With the machine running, add the cream, egg yolks and salt and process until the frangipane is smooth.
Halve the apricots lengthwise and remove the stones. Spread the frangipane in the crust. Top with the apricots, stoned sides down.
Bake until the filling is lightly puffed and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the tin, cut into wedges, and serve.