Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Apricot Almond Raspberry Tart

We look forward to birthdays at work, especially since Wendy came on board. She was a pastry chef in her former life and, as you can imagine, turns out some phenomenal patisserie.

A few weeks ago she graced us with a French apricot almond raspberry tart (thank you Mike for being born). But not just any tart, this one had tangy fruit suspended in a baked almond cream over a sweet pastry crust. Seriously off the hook. 

So when I was invited to a housewarming a few evenings ago, I jumped at the chance to recreate this tart. I tweaked the recipe slightly to make it less sweet and had tremendous results. It allegedly works with canned apricots as well but I highly recommend using fresh ones while they’re still available.

And be advised to make this for a group unless you want to test your will power in a serious way.

Apricot Almond Raspberry Tart

This is a perfect tart for a picnic, dinner party or potluck. The almond cream keeps it moist while the apricots and raspberries contribute a vibrant acidity. Adapted from Simply Sensational Desserts by Francois Payard.

3 tablespoons melted butter
7 fresh or canned apricots, pitted and cut into thirds
3 tablespoons sugar
1 – 1 3/4 cups Almond Cream (recipe follows)
One partially baked 9 1/2-inch tart shell made from sweet tart dough (I used this one)

1/2 pint raspberries
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush it  with some of the melted butter. Arrange the apricots on the sheet, cut side up, and brush with the remaining butter. Sprinkle the apricots with the sugar. Place in the preheated oven and bake until tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (leave the oven on).

Spread half of the almond cream into the tart shell and smooth into an even layer. Arrange the apricots, cut side up, in a pinwheel pattern, starting from the outside and working toward the center. Sprinkle the raspberries over the top and press down lightly into the cream. Spread the remaining almond cream over the fruit and sprinkle the slivered almonds over the top.

Note: the original recipe called for a total of 1 cup almond cream but if you’re like me, you’ll want to use closer to 2 cups.

Bake the tart until the filling is golden brown, about 25 minutes. If you used more than 1 cup of almond cream, it will take 30 minutes or more. Cool completely before serving.

Almond Cream
Also called frangipane, this almond cream compliments chocolate and fruits. It becomes somewhat cakey when baked and adds wonderful texture.

Makes about 2 cups

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup slivered almonds
8 1/2 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1/2 tablespoon) butter, softened
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Place 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor along with the almonds. Process until finely ground, about 1 minute.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar on high speed until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add the ground almond mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the egg and egg yolk one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the flour until just combined. The cream can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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