These lovely little tarts(that can be made any size you wish really) are such a great way to enjoy almonds and apricots, in a light and crumbly tart case.
Basically the tarts are created by making a shortcrust pastry base, which is nice and light and almost melts in the mouth. Then a thin layer of apricot jam lays across the pastry to be topped with an almond cake batter and topped with a slice of apricot.
The almonds used in the cake batter are ground almonds(or almond flour), and the flavour is greatly enhanced by the addition of some almond extract. In addition some flour is also used to help give the cake filling that would not be achieved just using the ground almonds.
Apricot, in the form of some jam and then a piece of canned almond on the top give these tarts an extra dimension in both flavour and texture.
The recipe is not complicated, but it does take some time, since there are several stages of preparation before the assembled tarts can be baked. The pastry also has to be chilled and then blind-baked before being filled.
Although the recipe for the pastry makes enough for 8 10cm(4 inch) tarts recipe actually makes more cake batter than is needed for the tarts. But is rather depends on the depth of the tart tins you mighty have. For me having some batter left over was great as it allowed me to make some simple almond cupcakes. But if you only want to make the tarts you can use just 3/4 of the recipe below.
If you don’t have individual tarts tins you could make smaller tarts in a bun tin, or even in a muffin tin. In the case of using a muffin tin how deep you make the tarts is a matter of preference and will use more, or less, batter.
I actually made 6 tarts in my silicone moulds and then made two more in a brownie pan, giving square tarts, and an additional one in a small fluted pan, just to show that you can do them however you wish.
My tarts baked very well indeed and, after brushing them with a little almond jam and allowing them to cool completely, they tasted fantastic. The crumbly pastry worked so well with the cake texture and then the sweetness of the jam and the slight tartness of the apricot slice brought everything together for a perfect dessert that is great served with cream, ice-cream or even custard.
Almond & Apricot TartsCourse: Desserts, Pies & TartsCuisine: InternationalDifficulty: Medium
300g(2 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour
25g(3 tbsp) icing sugar
150g(1 stick + 2 1/2 tbsp) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
3 medium egg yolks(large in USA)
5ml(1 tsp) water, if needed to bring dough together
pinch of salt
250g(2 sticks + 1 1/2 tbsp) softened unsalted butter
250g(1 1/4 cups) caster, or granulated, sugar
4 medium eggs(large in USA)
3g(1/2 tsp) salt
5ml(1 tsp) almond extract
200g(2 cups) ground almonds(almond flour)
100g(2/3 cup, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour
4 canned apricot halves each then cut into two pieces
2 tbsp apricot jam, for spreading on the base of the tarts(some chunks are fine but you may need a little more)
1 tbsp apricot jam with 1 tsp water, warmed, for brushing on top.
- In a food processor(this can all be done by hand too, of course) place the flour, salt and icing sugar and pulse to mix together.
- Add the cold butter and pulse repeatedly until the butter is broken down and the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Next add the egg yolks and process until the mixture starts to clump together, if necessary add just a drop of water to help it clump.
- Tip the dough out and squeeze it into a ball and flatten it to a disc.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes, in the fridge.
- Divide the dough into 8 equally sized pieces, and form them into balls.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out each ball of dough until it is large enough, about 15cm(6 in) diameter, to line the base and sides of your tart moulds.
- Place the rolled dough into the tart moulds patching any places where cracks may appear.
- Prick pastry bases all over, with a fork and then chill again for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350 F.
- Line the pastry with parchment paper( I used flattened muffin cases) and fill them with baking beans(or with rice, paste etc).
- Bake the tart cases in the oven for 10 minutes then remove the baking beans and parchment paper.
- Place them tart cases into the oven again and bake for a further 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl place the softened butter and the caster sugar and whisk(I used my hand mixer) until they are creamed together and light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to fully incorporate before adding the next.
- When adding the final egg also add the salt and the almond extract and whisk to combine as before.
- Spoon some jam(about 1 tsp) over the base of the cooled tart cases.
- Scoop, or pipe, the batter over the jam until the cases are filled, and then level the batter.
- Place one of the halved apricot halves onto the top of each tart.
- Place the tarts onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the batter has risen around the apricot and has coloured nicely. The cake should feel springy to the touch.
- Remove the tarts from the oven and immediately brush with watered apricot jam.
- Allow the tarts to cool in the moulds before removing and serving.