Each time I visit the market or store I load up on fruit. Each time I pile it in my basket I say to myself, “This would make a lovely dessert! I can’t wait to bake with it!” Each time I daydream about the delicious pie/cake/clafoutis that will feature such delicious fruit. Each time I go home and promptly eat enough fruit as snacks that there isn’t a suitable amount left with which to bake. Each time I promise myself that I will buy plenty of extra fruit next time.
This is beyond the realm of picking up two additional pieces of fruit. Not once but twice these efforts included twenty pound boxes of apples (I am not kidding, we ate the first box entirely as snacks, not a single strudel or crisp in sight). We’re talking substantial fruit intake, minimal fruit-based dessert output — much to my husband’s dismay.
My last trip to the farmer’s market yielded about a pound of apricots for baking purposes. One extra apricot was purchased for tasting, the rest were were destined for a sweet, buttery, delicious grave. The search for recipes was on!
Sometimes if I don’t find an idea that quite works with what I have and what I want I’ll cobble together elements of a few different recipes to see how that goes. Not this time. Several ideas were marked mentally as “maybes” when I came across this post at Orangette.
Ding ding ding. We have a winner.
Tossing sliced apricots with sugar and a hint of salt, arranging them in a tart shell, and baking until the flaky pastry is filled with gooey, fruit-studded apricot jam sounded good to me. It was. The almost assertive sweetness is balanced by the salt, and a little ice cream or creme fraiche adds some contrast in temperature and mouthfeel. The lack of additional filling keeps the tart light and tasting like summer.
My changes to the recipe were minor; with a method this simple it’s hard to change much. A few of my apricots had spots that needed to be cut off so I sliced them in six pieces each instead of four. In the pastry recipe I substituted part whole wheat pastry flour with no ill effects. Normally I’m not one to shy away from more work, but I opted to use the food processor instead of a hand-held pastry blender this time.
If you (like my sister) are allergic to apricots, you can also use plums which would be absolutely gorgeous. Reduce the sugar depending on their sweetness and go for it!
My only thought for next time is that I like my crust a bit more crisp, so next time I might par-bake the shell for just a few minutes and see if that helps. The shell didn’t shrink at all; I was quite pleased with it other than the bottom (which is possible user error). Now I’m going to get this post up so I can eat one of the leftover pieces as a snack.
Summery Apricot Tart
I only needed 3 1/2 tablespoons of the liquid ingredients for the crust, but this will depend on the humidity where you live. If you don’t have a food processor, whisk together dry ingredients, cut in butter using a pastry blender, then add the liquids a teaspoon at a time until dough comes together.
For the crust:
- 4 tablespoons ice water
- 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup | 1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
For the filling:
- 1 pound ripe apricots
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 pinches kosher salt
- Combine ice water and vinegar in a small bowl.
- Add flours, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until dough has no pieces of butter larger than a pea. Add water/vinegar with food processor motor running until the dough starts to clump. Pinch a piece between your fingers; if it sticks, it’s done, if it’s still crumbly, dribble in a bit more liquid.
- Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and press together to form a disk about an inch thick. Wrap the disk tightly with the plastic wrap then roll the edges along the counter to flatten and reduce cracks. Place dough in refrigerator for at least two hours and up to four days.
- When the dough is chilled, remove it from the fridge and let soften for a few minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 375F with the rack in the center.
- On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough to fit an 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim the dough to about 1/2″ past the top of the pan, then press the excess dough over to add bulk to the edges. (I rolled mine extra thin and baked the scraps for 8-10 minutes sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.) Put the tart shell in the freezer while you make the filling.
- Pit and quarter the apricots (if you have some that are larger or you have a scant pound, try six pieces each) and place them in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and salt on top and toss gently. Retrieve the tart shell from the freezer and quickly arrange the apricot slices in concentric circles in the shell before they get too juicy. Top with any sugar remaining in the bowl.
- Bake at 375F for 45 minutes or so until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is soft. Serve warm or at room temperature with creme fraiche or a little vanilla ice cream.
Keep up with Little Blue Hen: get updates via email, subscribe through an RSS feed, connect on Facebook, or say hello on Twitter.
Comments? I love feedback and suggestions! Leave them below or email me.