Recipe 134 – Austrian Apricot & Almond Tart

3rd January 2013

Happy New Year everybody.  I’ve had the dreaded flu lurgy that’s been doing its rounds since just after Christmas, so haven’t felt like going into the kitchen baking, and with the coughing as well, I didn’t think it wise.  I can’t believe my husband has managed to escape it – both the children have it too.  The worst thing is I actually had a flu jab this year!

Anyway enough about me, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that we all have a fantastic 2013.

I had been flicking through Mary’s Bible for quite a few days and this recipe I noted needed marzipan and I knew I had some left over from my Christmas cakes I had made.  I also had the two tins of apricots in the cupboard that were required.

My only concern was I had to make the dreaded pastry.  Into a bowl went plain flour, and sifted icing sugar, together with the diced butter.  I then had to rub the butter into the flour.  After two minutes, I realised I wasn’t really getting anywhere, this flu bug had left me weaker than I thought and I just didn’t have the energy to rub the flour in, how pathetic I felt.  I was about to give up, but thought no, I’ll have to cheat just this once and get the food processor out.  So out of the cupboard came the food processor.  I used to use this quite a lot when it was on my worktop, but since I’ve put it away in the cupboard I must admit its had very little use.  After a quick wash of the bowl and blade the flour/sugar/butter mixture was put in and within 20 seconds it resembled breadcrumbs.  Much easier.   One egg was then cracked into a bowl and lightly beaten, this was poured into the food processor and the mixture soon came together to form a dough.  The mixture was tipped out onto some cling film, wrapped up and put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Whilst the pastry was chilling the oven was put on to preheat and a heavy baking tray was put onto one of the shelves.  It was then a case of removing almost everything from my cupboard full of baking tins to get the 25cm (10″) deep loose bottomed flan tin out.  I quickly measured the tin to make sure it was the right size and thankfully it was.

I still had about 20 minutes before the pastry came out of the fridge so I used this time to drain and empty the tins of apricots.  The apricots all had to be dried on kitchen paper.  Then it was onto the marzipan.  This needed to be grated.  I was surprised at how easy it was to grate, I thought it would just fall apart when you tried to grate it as it was rather soft, but it actually reminded me of playing with play dough with the children when they were little.  I actually did play with play dough this Christmas with my niece and nephew – I love the stuff, it’s great fun.  Anyway the marzipan was grated so it was on with the pastry.

The pastry had firmed up nicely in the fridge, so as this tart needed a ‘lid’ just less than half of the pastry was sliced off, wrapped back up in clingfilm and put back into the fridge.  The other piece had to be rolled out.  I thought I would do a Mary Berry and roll my pastry out directly onto the bottom of the tin.  It was rolled out a couple of inches more than the diameter of the base and the edges were then folded over onto the base.  The base was picked up and dropped carefully into the tin.   The sides were then unfolded.  Why hadn’t I tried this before it was much easier.  With the edges lightly pushed in to the side, a rolling pin was rolled over the top of the tin to remove the excess pastry.  The bottom of the pastry was then sprinkled with the grated marzipan and the apricots were evenly spaced on top of this, rounded side up.  It looked quite pretty already.

The remaining piece of pastry was removed from the fridge and this was rolled out to approximately the size of the tin and put on top of the apricots.  I must admit reading back through the recipe I should have brushed the edge of the pastry with water, but I didn’t!  The edges were crimped together with my fingertips.  I was surprised to see that the pastry didn’t need to be brushed with milk or egg before it went into the oven – I assume there was no need as it was a sweet pastry.

The tart was put onto the preheated tray in the oven and baked for 30 minutes.  After this time the pastry still looked very pale, so I set the timer for another 5 minutes.  It still looked pale, so it went in for another 5 minutes and another after that!  Slightly longer than Mary’s suggested timing of 30-35 minutes.

I left the tart in the tin for a good 15 minutes before I turned it out.  I was pleased to see the lovely golden colour of the edges and think if I make it again I will brush the top with mlik as although it was a pale golden brown, I would have liked it a bit darker.

Taste wise it was lovely.  The marzipan wasn’t too over-powering, the apricots were lovely and juicy and the pastry tasted divine.  It looked fantastic too, the pastry moulded itself over the top of the apricots which was very effective.  I think I will be baking this one again!


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