The Apricot Tart. This got us snowballing into chaotic mad bears. It just screams at you to make it, hence the overzealous purchase of apricots.
By Richard Bertinet
Makes 1 x 28cm tart
Butter for greasing baking tart tin
1 quantity ready-made butter puff pastry
1 quantity crème patissière
1/2 quantity almond cream
2 cans of apricots, drained (I use Waitrose)
1 teaspoon caster sugar
For Crème Patissière
250ml full-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
25g plain flour
For Almond Cream
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease the baking tin.
For the almond cream, beat the butter until very soft in a mixer. Add sugar and ground almonds and mix some more. Then, mix in the flour and the eggs. Transfer to a small bowl and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
For the crème patissière, put egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk until pale and creamy. Add the flour and mix until smooth. Put milk into a saucepan, and add the vanilla paste and bring pan of milk over medium heat to under a the boil, then slowly pour half of it into the egg mixture, whisking well as you do so.
Add remainder of the milk and whisk again, then pour the mixture back into the pan. Bring to a boil, whisking it all the time continuously for 1 minute. Make sure its cooked thoroughly so that you won’t taste any flour. Take off heat.
Pour the mixture into a clean bowl and cover the surface with a greaseproof paper to prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool, then store in the fridge till ready for use.
To start on the tart, skim flour over your work surface, then roll out the pastry 4-5mm thick and use to line your tin. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork.
Mix crème patissière and almond cream together, then spoon into the pastry case, spreading it out evenly.
Cut apricots into quarters and arrange them in a loose circular fashion on top of the creamy base – skin side down, with one end pushed gently into the cream and the other end pointing slightly upwards. Sprinkle with sugar.
Place on a baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes, until apricots have caramelised and pastry is golden brown. If you insert a table knife carefully under the edge of the pastry, it should come away from the tin.
Leave in the tin for about 15 minutes, then lift out and cool on a rack.