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Apricot Tart

This is a rich French flan to be served cold with sweetened whipped cream. It makes an ideal dinner party dessert.

ingredients

For the French flan pastry:
100 g (4 oz) flour
Pinch of salt
50 g (2 oz) butter
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp caster sugar

for the filling:

1/2 kg (1 lb). fresh apricots, halved and stoned, or 1 x 425 g (1 oz) can apricots
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

for the glaze:

1 tsp spoon arrowroot
1 tbsp sieved
apricot jam

method

1. Sift the flour and salt onto a marble slab or board. Make a well in the centre, then put in the butter in pieces, the egg yolks and sugar. With your fingertips, draw the flour into the centre and work all ingredients together until a soft dough is formed. Form into a smooth ball and wrap in foil or greaseproof paper. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Press the chilled dough into a 20 cm (8 in) flan ring placed on a baking sheet. Prick the base with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for a further 15 minutes.

3. Line the dough with crumpled greaseproof paper and three-quarters fill with rice or baking beans. Bake in a fairly hot oven (190°C/375°F or Gas Mark 5) for 15 minutes, then remove the rice or beans and greaseproof paper and bake for a further 5 minutes. Take from the oven and remove the flan ring. Leave to cool.

4. Put fresh apricots in a saucepan. Just cover with water, add the sugar and vanilla pod, if using, and heat very slowly until the sugar dissolves, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the apricots are soft and tender.

5. Leave to cool in the juices, then lift out with a slotted spoon, reserving the juice. Discard the vanilla pod. If using canned apricot halves, drain well and reserve the juice. Mix with the vanilla essence. Arrange the apricot halves in the flan case.

6. To prepare the apricot glaze, put the reserved juice (there should be 300 ml (1/2 pint) (1/2 pint) so make up to this amount with water if necessary) in a small pan and heat through. Dissolve the arrowroot in a little water, then stir into the juice with the apricot jam.

7. Bring to the boil and simmer until thick. Cool slightly, then pour over the apricots. Cool completely before serving.

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