Wow! Just wow!
What do you get when you combine a shortbread crust, a frangipani custard base and beautiful just-in-season apricots from the farmers’ market? This tender and absolutely stunning tart!
Take my advice and eat this tart just warm from the oven when the warm apricots literally melt in your mouth as they float on top of the smooth almond custard and when the shortbread crust is at its peak of crispness.
(Full disclosure: Only because I want to be absolutely sure I capture in words the essence of the dish, I’m eating
one several slices of this tart as I write this blog. It is, after all, what I owe the people who are kind enough to read Blue Cayenne. Never mind my powdered sugar mustache. Dignity flies out the window when you are eating a warm apricot tart. Trust me.)
This recipe is adapted from one that appears in Patricia Wells’ cookbook Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, a cookbook for which she won a James Beard award. Wells was born in the United States (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) but now divides her time between Paris and Provence. Sounds like the good life to me. She has a new highly-regarded cookbook, My Master Recipes. (My Master Recipes by Patricia Wells.)
Here is a link to the original recipe: Patricia Wells’ Verlet’s Apricot Tart. (Maison Verlet is a tea shop on the Rue St. Honore in Paris. It has been serving coffee and sweets (and tea) since the beginning of the 20th Century.)
Yields 8 Servings
30 minPrep Time
55 minCook Time
1 hr, 25 Total Time
- For pastry:
- 8 T. unsalted, melted butter (cooled)
- 1/2 C. sugar
- 1/4 t. almond extract
- 1/4 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 C. plus 1 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 T. finely-ground almonds (for crust)
- 2 T. finely-ground almonds (to sprinkle on bottom of the tart shell after blind baking)
- For filling:
- 1/2 C. creme fraiche or heavy cream (or a mixture)
- 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
- 1/2 t. almond extract
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- 2 T. honey
- 1 T. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh apricots (pitted and sliced)
- Confectioners' suger for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a tart pan.
- For the pastry: Combine melted butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and stir to form a soft cookie-like dough. Using your fingers, press the dough into the prepared tart pan. Bake crust for 12-15 minutes until it is slightly puffy. Sprinkle 2 T. of ground almonds on the bottom of the blind-baked crust.
- For the filling: Combine creme fraiche or heavy whipping cream in a large bowl. Add egg, flavor extracts and honey and mix ingredients with a whisk. Whisk in the flour.
- Pour the custard mixture into the blind baked crust. Arrange sliced apricots on top of the custard.
- Put tart pan on a baking tray. (This will protect your oven from drips.) Bake tart for 55-60 minutes until the custard is firm and the crust is a nice golden brown. Sprinkle immediately with confectioners' sugar. Cool on a rack.