Saturday 24 October 2015

Apricot & Almond Tart

Last week, my family and I travelled over to Northern Ireland to visit some family. While there, my husband's cousin asked if I would be willing to make the pudding for the family's Sunday dinner while the others went to Sunday services, and I happily agreed to this plan.

When we entered the kitchen, a Jamie Oliver cookbook was thrust upon me with this Frangipane plum tart recipe.
A few pages earlier was the pastry recipe.

Now, I had expected something like, you know, a crumble, to throw together easily at a leasurely pace, not something that requires about 6 hours if you follow the recipe to the letter. On top of this, we were short of a few ingredients, we didn't have the right size tin, and there were no pie weights (or dried pulses) to hand for blind baking the pastry.

I managed to put some semblance of a tart together in the end (improvising with garden stones for pie weights) which was, er, rather "caramelized" on top, but it was eaten enthusiastically by the adults and even by a couple of adventurous children (my kids were more interested in ice cream, sadly). Pleasantly surprised by it, I resolved to go home and make a similar one, in a more suitably sized tin, and with apricots rather than plums as I love me some apricots.

Yesterday morning, I was faced with a question: should I clean up the flat while my two older kids were at school, or should I make a tart? A couple hours later, this emerged from the oven:

It looked a bit sad, really, so I looked at the recipe again and saw that it suggested an apricot jam glaze. I didn't have any of said ingredient at that moment, so off I went to get the kids, picking up jam on the way. After depositing kids at gymnastics with their father, I dashed home, quickly microwaved some jam, and spread it over the top:

Ahhhh...better. It was then shoved into a bag and brought into work, served with posh Sainsbury's custard. One colleague was disgusted when I said I'd brought apricot tart, but then she saw it and decided she had to try some...there were no crumbs left on her plate. So if nothing else, I convinced someone to eat apricots yesterday. Get your 5 a day every day, people. 

Jamie Oliver's fancy recipe page is here, but I've also copied and pasted below...and as I did this, I just realized I completely left out the oranges when I made this. Ooops: 

Apricot Tart 
from Jamie Oliver's Magazine


• 500g sweet pastry
• 12 ripe apricots, halved and stones removed (or 2 x 400g tins apricot
halves, drained)
• 100g sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 4 tbsp apricot jam
• Crème fraîche or ice cream, to serve (optional)


• 300g ground almonds
• 225g sugar
• 225g butter, at room temperature
• 3 heaped tbsp flour
• 4 eggs
• Zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1
• 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out (or
1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Place the pastry on a floured surface and roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Lift over a rolling pin then unroll it onto a 28cm fluted tart tin. 
2. Gently ease the pastry into the tin, making sure it is pressed into the fluted edges. Trim the edges with a sharp knife and pierce the pastry base a few times with a fork. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes – this will stop it shrinking when baked.
3. Meanwhile, blitz all the filling ingredients in a food processor so it forms a thick paste.
4. Once chilled, place the pastry in its tin on a baking tray and loosely cover with a sheet of baking paper, letting it hang over the edges. Fill with baking beans or rice.
5. If using fresh apricots, place them cut-side down in a large shallow pan with the sugar and 275ml of water, then cook over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, or until slightly softened but not mushy. 
6. Bake the pastry case blind for 15 minutes, or until slightly coloured, then remove from the oven. Take out the baking paper and the baking beans or rice, and return the pastry to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Once it has a nice colour, leave it to cool slightly before adding the filling, then press in the apricots, cut-side up. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 40–45 minutes, or until the filling has almost set and is coloured on top. 
7. Heat the jam in a small pan over a medium heat until melted. Brush over the tart to glaze, and leave to set. Once set, serve with crème fraîche or ice cream, if you like.

Sweet Pastry


  • 250 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 125 g good-quality unsalted cold butter , cut into small cubes
  • 1 orange , (optional)
  • 1 vanilla pod , halved and seeds scraped out (optional)
  • 1 large free-range egg , beaten
  • a splash of milk


Everyone needs a good, basic pastry recipe, and this is one you can rely on. It’s easily adaptable if you want to add extra flavours like orange zest or vanilla – or even a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon – and is really simple to knock up. If you have any pastry left over, simply wrap it in clingfilm and freeze it to use another time.

You can make your pastry like this by hand, or pulse it in a food processor. From a height, sieve your flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, gently work the cubes of butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If using orange or vanilla for extra flavour, either finely grate in the zest of your orange or add the seeds from the vanilla pod and mix again.

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