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Monday, August 1, 2016

August ABC challenge: Croûte d’abricots (apricot and almond tart)

 

I have access to the BEST apricots ever, but the season is short and early here, so I knew I had to get on this recipe.  (And my lavender was in bloom.) Nonetheless, when I went to my favorite apricot vendor to buy the fruit, he was already out for the season.  But his peaches were in, so I bought several yellow and white peaches.  They looked a little green still, but he said they were ready.  I was skeptical.  Unfortunately, they did not fair well on the way home, and the riper ones became so bruised I barely had enough to get some decent slices.  (The unripe fruit was still perfect.)  Not only that, but they didn't taste good.  This was not a good year for stone fruits.  I was so disappointed.  But I salvaged what I could, dipping the slices in sugar to try to sweeten them up a little.

I've noticed that, so far in this challenge source, the consistency of my doughs never match that of the originator.  For example, she says to "pour" the batter into the pan -- I had a thick, sticky mass that I had to carefully pat down.  She must be using giant eggs.  I also noticed that my honey was rather stiff, so maybe that was the problem.  By the way, although there are dramatic differences in the flavor of various honeys, I've never been able to distinguish lavender honey from clover honey from any other variety.  I used sage honey.

I didn't have a small tart pan, so I used a pie pan from Marie Callendar's, which measured 7 inches across the bottom.  Other than the honey, the only other change to the recipe I made was to increase the salt.

Here's what I used:

50 g beurre noisette
120 g almond flour
50 g (lavender) honey
1 3 pinches of salt (using a pinch measuring spoon)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dried, organic lavender
icing sugar to prepare the tart pan
4 to 6 fresh apricots, stoned and quartered
Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Brush an 8-inch shallow tart pan with butter and dust with icing sugar.

Make the beurre noisette by slowly melting the butter over a low flame until nut brown and the milk solids have toasted. (No need to strain.)  Set aside and leave to cool. In a bowl (or the butter pan), stir together the almond flour, honey, egg, salt, and lavender flowers.  Add the brown butter and whisk until smooth.  Pour into the tart pan and spread evenly. Press the apricot quarters in the mixture, arranging them the way you like best.  Bake for about 35 minutes.  Keep an eye on the crust and make sure it does not brown too fast, otherwise turn the oven down to about 320º F from the point of perfect crust color.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool and firm up slightly before releasing it. When cooled completely, dust with icing sugar and serve.
 

I checked this at 30 minutes and it looked a little dark on the edges, but not quite done in the center, so I turned the temperature down and left it another 5 minutes.  It was still hard to tell if it was done because it gets rather juicy.  For appearances sake, I would have preferred it be less dark on the edges.  I didn't try it until the next day, and by then the peach juice had soaked into the base, so it wasn't dry.  I don't know if it would have been dry if I'd had it right away.  Whipped cream was a great addition.

Conclusion: This was good, and surprisingly light.  It's not very sweet either, so it could be eaten plain for breakfast, or dressed up with whipped cream as a dessert.  I think it would have been much better with the apricots -- they have more flavor and that bit of tartness that would contrast nicely with the somewhat bland almond base.  There was only a hint of lavender, which was just the right amount.  A little lemon zest would also be a nice addition to the base.

Recipe:  Croûte d’abricots with lavender & honey via Weekend Bakery.

3 comments:

  1. Looks beautiful! I bought apricots today. Thinking of making just half a recipe, and definitely adding citrus zest in the batter.

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    1. I'd say make the whole thing. It's not very big -- 7" -- and not decadent. You could eat a quarter of it easily.

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    2. Okay, maybe not EASILY. But it wouldn't be outrageous either. :)

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