"Dude, Sweet Tart!"
Apricot Frangipane Tart
The Gents do love seasonal food but, we also love to bring a little unseasonable sunshine to a chilly autumn day. Humans have been preserving food since the beginning of time and the invention of the tin can has a lot to answer for, good and bad. One thing this revolution has brought us is the ability to eat seasonal fruit out of season. Now we know what you're thinking, tinned food is terrible. It's over cooked and has none of the vibrancy of the fresh equivalent but, who can resist sweet tinned fruit in "real fruit juice". We all have our guilty pleasures...
The inimitable Mary Berry, the nations baking Grandmother and producer of all things homely and scrumptious, is the source of today's recipe by way of the Telegraph online. Combining sweet fruit and nutty almond frangipane, this tart is a little bit of sunshine in pastry form. It's also the Gents very first #twitterbakealong thanks to work of The Baking Nanna and Robert Allen (Bakes4Fun blog).
Start by making a simple plain or sweet shortcrust pastry and pop in the fridge to rest. Drain, slice and pat dry your apricots (don't throw the juice away. It's perfect to make a sweet syrup drizzle or pour over fresh fruit salad). Once you pastry has chilled, roll out on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a fluted loose bottomed tart tin. Use a spare piece of pastry to ensure you pastry fits into all the flutes and edges.
We chose to blind bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden, although the recipe seems to skip this. Whilst it bakes make the frangipane mixture, beating butter and sugar until light and creamy before adding eggs and grounds almonds. Adding almond extract isn't essential but, without it you wont have that classic sweet almond aroma or flavour.
Scatter a thin layer of ground almonds over your pastry case and add your sliced apricots. The almonds will help absorb any extra juice and avoid the dreaded 'soggy bottom'. Spoon over the frangipane and level with a palette knife before baking until golden and the filling springs back. The recipe suggests 45-50 minutes at 170 degrees fan, however, ours was done (almost over) after 35 minutes at 160!
Once cooled decorate with simple water icing. You'll see that the recipe shows an 'artfully messy' finish. We did not do this. When we try to make things 'artfully messy' they just look messy. But, as Mary herself so famously said, "It's not messy, it's informal'!