Apricot and Almond Tart

Do you ever go through phases of wanting to bake a certain cake? You'll either bake it as soon as possible, or keep putting it off until, by the time you're free, you'll have set your sights on another recipe.

This was one of those moments. I had a sudden longing for an apricot tart, filled with moist and fragrant frangipane and juicy apricots. The season for stone fruits is short here so I knew I had to make the most of it whilst I could!

This tart is very easy to prepare. Halve the apricots and leave them to soak in a little sugar and the tiniest bit of sherry. (Don't worry, you can't taste it!) Bake the tart case - either make your own pastry, use ready-made or (if you're really short on time) buy one of those nifty pre-baked cases. Then all you have to do is whip up the frangipane, pour into the tart and add the apricots!

I baked this on Saturday night for Father's Day and it went down a treat. We served it cold, with mascarpone because it needed using up, but it would go equally as well with vanilla ice-cream, cream or plain yogurt. Hold off on any sauces, though - you want the delicate flavour to shine through. 

Apricot and Almond Tart (serves 8)
175g shortcrust pastry (i.e made with 125g plain flour and 55g butter)

6 apricots
1 tbsp caster sugar
Splash of sherry 

100g caster sugar
75g butter, softened
3 medium eggs 
150g ground almonds

Flaked almonds, to decorate

1. Heat the oven to 190°C and roll the pastry out until thin. Press the pastry into a 23cm (9 inch) flan tin. Prick the base with a fork and cut any overhanging edges off - but not too much because the pastry will shrink. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and bake for another 10 minutes until crisp. Leave to cool.

2. Prepare the apricots by cutting them in half, removing the stone and placing them in a bowl. Mix with the sherry and sugar. Leave for at least 30 minutes.

3. Beat the butter with the sugar until pale and creamy. Stir in the almonds and beat in the eggs. Pour into the cooled tart case. Place the apricots on top of the almond mixture. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake at 170°C for 45 minutes to an hour, until it is golden brown with minimal wobble. 

4. Cool on a wire rack before decorating with more flaked almonds. Store in the fridge if not eating immediately.