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Dried Apricot Tart

ingredients

serves 6
175 g (6 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry

for the apricot base:

450 g (1 lb) ready-to-eat dried apricots
115 g (4 oz) caster sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons amaretto

for the filling:

4 tablespoons double cream
225 g (8 oz) cream cheese
85 g (3 oz) ground almonds
55 g (2 oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond essence
4 tablespoons amaretto or brandy
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

method

1. Line a shallow 23cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

3. Reserve 8 of the dried apricots and put the rest in a saucepan with 300 ml (1/2 pint) water, the sugar, lemon juice and amaretto. Cover, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and mash very crudely with a fork or potato masher.

4. Put all the ingredients for the filling, except the demerara sugar, into a food processor or bowl and whizz or whisk together until well mixed.

5. Spoon the dark, squidgy apricot mash into the pre-baked pastry case and then spoon the cream cheese and almond filling over the top. Arrange the reserved apricots evenly around the tart and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes. The filling will rise up and become golden brown in colour, leaving the apricots bubbling away in their little hollows.

6. SERVE hot or warm with some warm, sieved apricot jam and creme fraiche.

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