apricot frangipane tart
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There are three recipes in this one. The tart base is made from pasta frôlla, the Italian equivalent to sable or shortcrust; not really very different but less flaky and crumbly than their Anglo-French brothers. I actually prefer it like that in a tart: you want to cut it in exquisite slices and stop it disintegrating on the fork’s way to mouth. The lemon zest is optional but a nice touch. That’s the recipe to reach for when you want tarts, tartlets, pies or mini pies, bars, squares or slices – any confection with a topping or filling.
Frangipane is a gorgeous almond cream with a massive benefit: it can (and needs to) be baked. Crème pâtissière is the usual suspect when you need a filler that can stand the heat but it doesn’t go that well with fruit I think. Frangipane can be made with any nuts you like, including pistachios, or even crushed macarons, and it’s excellent to sink fruit into, swelling around the cherries or apricots in golden waves. It’s marzipan cream, basically. Tartas, tortas, tartes – spell it as you like – bakewells, simnels and manchesters; any cakes that will be baked with a filling can use a variant of frangipane.
The third is fruit: soft fruit topped cakes are sorely overlooked in my view. But there’s nothing better in berry season than a butter cake, buckle or indeed a tart laden with ripe fruit quarters or whole berries. It makes the dessert lighter and less sinful. It gets you one of the five-a-day, almost. It’s an excellent use of those sad looking, overripe apricots or cherries that you greedily bought in bulk from the farmers’ market. Fruit within, in the middle or atop the cake – that’s what summer is all about.
apricot frangipane tartServings: 8-10Time: a couple of hours plus chilling pastry
- For the shortcrust base:
- 290g (2 1/3 cups) plain flour
- 40g (1/3 cup) icing sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- zest grated from a lemon
- 170g (¾ cup) salted butter, cold and diced
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 60ml (¼ cup) double cream
- For the frangipane:
- 90g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. plain flour
- 115g (1 cup) almonds, more for sprinkling
- For the topping:
- 10-12 ripe apricots, stoned and quartered
- 2 tbsp. raw pistachio nuts, chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
First make the shortcrust pastry, it can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and zest. Add the diced butter and process or rub in until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Mix the egg, yolk, vanilla and cream in a separate bowl, pour into the flour mix and stir together just until combined. Give it a quick knead to shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill at least an hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Beat the wrapped pastry with a rolling pin to soften, then roll it out and press into the bottom and 1½ cm /1 inch up the sides of a round tart tin or dish, 23cm (9in). You may well not use up all the pastry – the base should be about 1cm (½in) thick. Prick it all over with a fork. Any leftover pastry will make great shortbread fingers.
Bake the base loosely covered with parchment and weighed down with baking beans/coins for 15 minutes, remove the weights and parchment and bake it for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
To make the frangipane, beat the sugar with the butter until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one. Beat in the flour to eliminate the curdling. Fold in the ground almonds.
Spoon the frangipane cream into cooled base and spread evenly, including the edges. Place the apricot quarters over the cream, skin side down. Sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon. If using the pistachios, crumble them around the edge.
Bake in the oven preheated to 190C/375F/gas 5 for about 30-35 minutes until the frangipane is golden and almost set. Cool in in the tin completely. Any tart left over will keep in the fridge for another couple of days.