This lovely summer tart is not only a crowd pleaser, but also very quick to prepare. For best results, use apricots that are not overly ripe, i.e. still a bit firm to the touch.
The tart shell is a traditional French sweet pastry crust, known as a pâte sablée. I often make the dough well in advance — it can sit quite happily in the fridge for several hours once it has been patted into the tart pan.
The quantities below, for a small tart that will serve 4 people, require a 9-inch (23 cm) tart pan. For a larger crowd, use a bigger tart pan and double the ingredients.
You will have greatest success with a French-style tart pan with vertical sides, but lacking that any pan will do — even a small square or rectangular pyrex baking dish. Hint: Do not use a tart pan with a removable bottom, as the filling may leak through.
For the pâte sablée (sweet pastry crust):
1/4 lb. (110 g) unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 cup (130 g) plus 2 tbsp. flour
For the filling:
1 pound (500 g) apricots
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (60 ml) crème fraîche or heavy cream
4 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup (30 g) finely ground almonds (poudre d’amandes)
Start by making the pâte sablée. Click here for the recipe. Pat the dough into your tart pan and set in the fridge to chill.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (400 F, 210 C).
Rinse and drain the apricots. Cut in quarters, removing the seeds.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolk, cream and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix with a wire whip. Now stir in the powdered almonds.
When the tart shell is well chilled, remove from fridge and pour in the cream-almond mixture. Swirl to coat the bottom well.
Place the apricot quarters on top of the cream in concentric circles, beginning with the outer ring. You can set the apricot pieces slightly upright on the inner circles.
Sprinkle the apricots with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Place the tart in the oven and turn the heat down to gasmark 6 (350 F, 180 C). Bake until the crust is golden and the apricots are starting to brown.
For an interesting variation, substitute ground pistachios for the ground almonds.