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Apricot Frangipane Tart

Frangipane is a versatile almond/butter filling that can be used as the base for any number of fruit tarts. In this recipe I’ve poached apricots and nestled them in the filling prior baking off. Plums, peaches, strawberries, or rhubarb [1] could also be switched out for the apricots.

The tartness of the apricots paired with the sweet almond filling makes for a sublime combination especially when served with a dollop of crème fraîche [2].  Enjoying a glass of Moscato d’Asti will put this dessert over the top.

Makes One 9 or 10-inch Tart
Serves 8 -12

7 tablespoons (3.5 oz / 198 g)  cold unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups (5 ¾ oz 165 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 oz / 30 g) cake flour (not self-rising)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon (1/2 oz / 15 g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 firm but ripe apricots
1/2 cup (4 oz / 113 g) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (3.5 oz / 100 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
1/2  teaspoon pure almond extract
2 tablespoons (20 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups ( oz / 125 g) ground almonds
3 tablespoons apricot jam
Splash of water

To make tarte dough or Pâte Sucrée: Cut the butter into 1/4-inch pieces, transfer to a bowl or plate and pop in the freezer. Whisk together 1 tablespoon cream and egg yolk and place in the refrigerator.

In the bowl of a food processor using the metal “S” blade, combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. Scatter the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal (about 15 quick pulses). 

Pour the cream/egg yolk mixture around the perimeter of the bowl. Pulse 5 or 6 times or until the dough just begins to hold together. If the dough seems dry add a bit more cream and pulse again.

Tip the dough out onto a counter-top. Using the palm of your hand, smear the dough away from you a little at a time using a pastry scraper gather it back up. Repeat until the dough comes together. This technique is called to fraisage. After it comes together pat it into a 6-inch disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour or better yet overnight.

When ready to proceed set a rack at the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F fan assisted oven. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes or until malleable.

Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper taking the time to ensure that the paper is not sticking to the dough. The diameter should end up being about 11-inches. Form the dough into a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan with it slightly higher than the rim of the tart pan. Using a fork prick the bottom of the dough and pop it in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until firm.

Set the frozen tart shell on a sheet pan. Blind bake the tart dough by lining it with parchment paper. Add uncooked rice or dry beans to weigh down the dough. Place in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin the brown. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the weights and parchment paper. Return to the oven and continue baking until the edges and bottom are golden brown, another 5 – 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.

Blanch the fruit: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each apricot and (carefully) drop into the boiling water. Blanch for 3 – 4 minutes, or even five minutes depending on the ripeness of the fruit. (The less ripe the longer they take to blanch.) Once blanched remove each to an ice bath. When cool enough to handle peel each, cut in half, remove the pit and set on a plate.

Prepare the frangipane filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate. Mix in orange blossom water and almond extract. Add the flours and mix to combine. Set aside.

When the tart dough has cooled using a small off-set spatula spread frangipane evenly over the blind baked tart crust. Arrange the apricot halves (cut side down) on top pressing them slightly into the frangipane.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 – 55 minutes or until frangipane is until  golden.  Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. While the tart is cooling in a small saucepan heat the jam and a splash of water and cook until jam has melted.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Using a small pastry brush, brush the cooled tart with the apricot glaze. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream.