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Apricot Tarts and Pies


Chris Hennes
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I forgot how much I love baking... last week's blueberry pie adventure left me wanting more, but my produce supplier was out of the gallon bags of blueberries. The apricots looked good, though, so I bought a few pounds. Now, I'd like to make either a pie or a tart with them: recipe suggestions? I don't think I've ever had an apricot pie, but I'm pretty sure at some point in the past I've had some apricot tarts. And I think Beranbaum's got a recipe in The Pie and Pastry Bible: has anyone tried it?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I forgot how much I love baking... last week's blueberry pie adventure left me wanting more, but my produce supplier was out of the gallon bags of blueberries. The apricots looked good, though, so I bought a few pounds. Now, I'd like to make either a pie or a tart with them: recipe suggestions? I don't think I've ever had an apricot pie, but I'm pretty sure at some point in the past I've had some apricot tarts. And I think Beranbaum's got a recipe in The Pie and Pastry Bible: has anyone tried it?

I made one a few summers back that I really enjoyed- started with a basic thin, creamy french lemon tart (tarte au citron), then nestled halves of poached, peeled apricot across the top. After baking, I sprinkled the top with raw sugar and bruleed it. Lemon-apricot-caramel.....really tasty.

Torren O'Haire - Private Chef, FMSC Tablemaster, Culinary Scholar

"life is a combination of magic and pasta"

-F. Fellini

"We should never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal."

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Every year during apricot season I make an apricot tart that starts with a shortbread crust to which I add toasted hazelnuts. I bake the tart shell, let it cool, then add a nice layer of cooled, stiff creme patisserie. If you can find it at your local liquor store/liquor section of your market, add some apricot liqueur to the pastry cream.

Next, add some halved apricots on top of the tart. Sometimes I poach the apricots in a simple syrup with a vanilla bean, sometimes I'll add some sweet wine to the poaching liquid, other occasions I'll just add raw apricots to the tart. You can also go retro and broil halved apricots before adding them to the tart. Generally, if I'm cooking the apricots I do that separately and then add them on top of the pastry cream in the tart shell.

It's a pretty simple recipe, but one that gives you pure apricot flavors along with buttery, flaky pastry and a bit of texture from the hazelnuts.

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I have made some very good apricot pies with fresh apricots. When I lived in Santa Fe, a neighbor had a tree that produced lovely fruit with very thin skins. Of course, I was lucky enough to get big sacks of dead-ripe fruit handed to me when they couldn't handle it anymore. I made the pie because I needed to use a lot of fruit very quickly.

I just cut the fruit in half, removed the pits, dredged it in some sugar, tossed in about a tablespoon of cornstarch, a pinch of nutmeg, and tossed the mixture into a double pie crust and baked it. It was always great, and the skins were not noticeable.

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You could sub apricots with no problem in this mango-strawberry tarte Tatin that I blogged about recently--

http://familyoffood.blogspot.com/2009/06/m...-down-tart.html

For the crust I used the tarte shell recipe in the _Les Halles Cookbook_ more or less, but you could use any shortbread crust you're comfortable with.

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Here is my favorite use for either pears, peaches or apricots as a tart.

Pear Frangiapane Tart

Recipe By :

Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :0:00

Categories : Pastries and pies Desserts

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

Apricot Glaze

1 1/2 cups apricots

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Tart Crust

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 1/4 cups flour

Fruit --

3 large pears, peaches, or apricots

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

rind of one lemon, in strips

1 inch piece cinnamon

5 cloves

Almond Filling

8 ounces Almond paste 3

1/4 cup sugar

8 ounces butter

3 large eggs

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon kirsch

1 teaspoon almond extract

Apricot Glaze - boil together for 20 to 25 minutes until jells. Strain out glaze from jam.

Tart Crust - mix all until forms ball in food processor. Chill 1 hour. Roll out between two sheets of plastic. Place in tart pan. Line with parchment and blind bake with beans for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Peel fruit, if pears or peaches. Cut apricots in half. Poach for 20 minutes in sugar water until tender. Cool.

Almond Filling - Mix all in food processor.

Put almond filling into baked tart shell, slice fruit and place on top of filling ( 5 halves works on a 12 inch tart). Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until nicely browned. Brush with glaze when cool.

Description:

"Manahattan's Dessert Scene, Fruit Tart Cookbook"

Yield:

"1 12 inch tart"

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Kerry, that looks great. A question, though: you call for "3 large pears, peaches, or apricots". I dunno what kind of apricots you use, but mine don't exactly fit the description of "large"! At least, nowhere near pear- or peach- sized. Any idea based on weight or volume how much this actually is?

ETA: Also, it looks like that makes a LOT of glaze!! Do you really "brush" that much on there? Can I safely cut that down to maybe 1/3?

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Kerry, that looks wonderful!

Chris, you could also just use apricot jelly (a good quality one) for the glaze, an acceptable time saver.

Also, I'd place the apricots "on-end" so that the wedges are pointing up, brûlée them a bit if you like, glaze then dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Simplest possible Apricot pie/tart, but delicious.

1) Roll out short crust pastry onto a circular flat pan. (I use a pizza pan.)

2) mix up a combination of equal parts flour, sugar and ground almonds. Roughly 1/2 cup of each for a 12" circular tart.

3) spread this around on top of the pastry. Spreading it fairly equally.

4) Halve & de seed the apricots.

5) Lay the apricots cut side down on the pastry with its dry ingredient mixture. Start with the outside leaving about a 1" edge. Lay concentric circles until the crust is covered. Then add to second layer on top of the first. When finished pinch the edges up using wet fingers to make a flouted rim which will contain any juices from the apricots.

6) Bake in a hot oven (375F) until the apricots are soft and slightly browned on top.

Easy, delicious and it looks pretty.

There's a pictorial recipe somewhere on my blog.

Try it you'll like it.

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Line a baking sheet with Puff pastry - even good store bought

Cover with halved pitted apricots, leaving an inch or so around the edge

Generous butter and brown sugar

Very hot oven (I use a pizza oven) until the top of the fruit browns

Cream

Good with other fruit as well - plums, greengages, sliced apples

Can also use bread dough/pizza crust. Lots of butter and sugar.

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Kerry, that looks great. A question, though: you call for "3 large pears, peaches, or apricots". I dunno what kind of apricots you use, but mine don't exactly fit the description of "large"! At least, nowhere near pear- or peach- sized. Any idea based on weight or volume how much this actually is?

No idea at all - I just poach up a bunch and see what looks nice on top of the tart - and gives each slice enough fruit.

ETA: Also, it looks like that makes a LOT of glaze!! Do you really "brush" that much on there? Can I safely cut that down to maybe 1/3?

I second John's idea of just buying apricot jelly. Or you can use apricot jam, heat and strain out the chunks (I can buy apricot glaze at a local european store so I often use that). I'm sure you could significantly cut the recipe back and still have enough glaze.

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I don't have much to add to the many informative posts here--only that I like to make the apricot tart from Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe cookbook. I add in some whole almonds to the sugary apricot filling, and I make sure to poke the nuts under some fruit so they don't burn in the oven.

No apricot tart in the works for me, but I've just ordered 5 lbs of apricots from my CSA, and I plan to put up some jam. If I have some leftover apricots, they'll go into a tart.

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David Ross, would you mind sharing that recipe?

Sounds divine.

Apricots and hazelnuts both are underestimated in America . . .

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Made a "pie" Saturday. Like jackal, mine is rolled out packaged puff pastry (leaving it square). Halve and seed six or eight apricots, cut each half in thirds, place in a bowl with zest of a lemon, lemon juice and a handful of sugar. Blend and scatter on the pastry leaving an inch or so at the edges. Fold over the edges and bake for about fifteen minutes in a preheated 400F oven.

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Dave, in step 4 you say "halve and seed" the apricots: do you also slice them? Or you lay concentric circles with the full apricot halves?

Chris,

If you look at Dave's blog, French Food Focus, I believe you'll see a picture of said apricot tart - very pretty, by the way.

Looks like "halved and seeded" but not sliced.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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How would theses pies/tarts hold up if I froze them after baking? Want to make something really good for my sister and neices visit--have basically one chance to "wow" them and won't have a lot of prep time the day of their visit. I've spent weeks thinking of a menu for lunch and dinner ( I do this for any entertaining!!) and was stuck on dessert. Apricots do sound good - seasonal, a bit gourmet and not 'common'.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman

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How would theses pies/tarts hold up if I froze them after baking?  Want to make something really good for my sister and neices visit--have basically one chance to "wow" them and won't have a lot of prep time the day of their visit.  I've spent weeks thinking of a menu for lunch and dinner ( I do this for any entertaining!!) and was stuck on dessert.  Apricots do sound good - seasonal, a bit gourmet and not 'common'.

Pie and tart doughs hold up well in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen easily, if you want to do that part in advance and have something fresh baked on the day you serve it. You could also make a tart with a shell that you can bake a day or two in advance, then add fruit and a custard and bake the assembled tart on the day you plan to serve it. Both of these approaches don't have much downside and let you present something fresh even as you shift some of the labor to a more convenient time.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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Dave, in step 4 you say "halve and seed" the apricots: do you also slice them? Or you lay concentric circles with the full apricot halves?

Chris

Sorry, I've been busy & didn't see your question until just now.

Concentric circles just using the halves.

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Dave, in step 4 you say "halve and seed" the apricots: do you also slice them? Or you lay concentric circles with the full apricot halves?

Chris,

If you look at Dave's blog, French Food Focus, I believe you'll see a picture of said apricot tart - very pretty, by the way.

Looks like "halved and seeded" but not sliced.

John

Thanks for looking at my blog & as per my post above my apologies for being slow to respond.

As it happens we just came back from dinner at a friends where she served apricot tart. She uses the same method as do I, but she added a glaze made of apricot jam, brandy & a bit of water. She boiled & reduced that a bit then glazed the tart & baked it for 15 minutes more.

The result was terrific! Think I'll try this addition.

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Last weekend I made Kerry's Apricot Frangiapane tart:

3690708523_677e6c830a_o.jpg

3691516112_44b0fa590e_o.jpg

I made a number of mistakes along the way:

  • The crust was too thick. I find short dough challenging to work with, and I constantly struggle to roll it thin but not have it break apart. I need to work on this.
  • I overbeat the filling and/or overbaked the tart: hence the ginormous crack in the middle.
  • I over-poached the apricots. Kerry's recipe is for pears, I think. Apricots take more like 3-4 minutes to poach.

Still, the flavor of the tart was good: very in-your-face almond (as it should be), but the bites with apricot in them had an excellent flavor balance. Next time I will use twice the number of apricots: I think it needed more to balance with the almond flavor, which was very assertive.

This weekend I made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Apricot Cheesecake Tart:

3690725761_40474a7872_o.jpg

3691533758_3cdf0bae12_o.jpg

This tart is made with a standard flaky pie crust, which I thought was a little odd for a "cheesecake": I also ended up making the crust too tall. It has a lot more apricots in it, which was nice, but it calls for A LOT of glaze on the top. Far too much, in my opinion. In addition, the cheesecake flavor is barely noticeable under all that glaze: it needs to be more assertive, I think, or there needs to be more of it. I think balancing the flavors in apricot tarts that are supposed to be more than just straight apricot is actually quite challenging.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris, have you considered using something like a goat cheese or quark (farmer's cheese) to replace part of the cream cheese in the cheesecake base? That might make the flavor a little more assertive to balance with the apricots. I like the frangipane tart. I would quarter the apricots and lay them very close together so you get a LOT of fruit relative to the almond base.

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