Last year I accidentally bought 200 lbs of fruit with the intent to turn it all into jam. During the laborious days that followed trying to process all of the fruit before I had to catch a flight to NYC, I discovered that apricots were - by far - the best for making jam out of all the fruit piled in the kitchen (peaches, plums, berries, cherries etc). Sweet, yet tart enough to give the jam a bit of a kick plus there was no need to blanch, strain or peel them before cooking. Delicious + low maintenance = winning a place in my heart forever.
Despite not needing to make any more jam this year (trust me.. I have plenty. of. jam.) I couldn't stop myself from stocking up on apricots as soon as they came into season. Most of them were eaten out of the fruit bowl, some were baked into galettes, but the rest were made into a sweet, creamy, and ever-so-slightly-tart apricot curd which I served dolloped in tarts along with chopped peaches and whipped cream.
The apricot curd is easy to make once your apricots are soft and ripe. Just slice them in half, remove the pit, and blitz them in the blender until they make a beautifully smooth puree...
..which is whisked together with an egg, some yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt over a bowl of simmering water until thick. Butter is added one cube at a time once the curd has been removed from the heat to give it a luscious, decadent texture and flavor.
The curd needs to cool completely before it can be added to the tarts, so it helps to make it a day ahead, or earlier on to give it time to chill out, relax, get it's priorities sorted or whatever curd does while it sits in the fridge.
For the tart crust I turned to one of my favorite crust recipes and Stirling Churn84 butter to get a really crispy, flaky texture. The ingredients are pulsed together in the food processor, then the dough pressed into a disk and chilled before being rolled out between two pieces of parchment paper.
I used to avoid pastry crust because I hated cutting the butter into the flour, but once I discovered the magical dough-making-powers of the food processor I was forever changed. The food processor majestically pulls the dough together without over-working it while I stand alongside casually pushing the pusle button. It's the easiest method and it gives the best results! Why can't everything be this way?
Once the tart crusts have baked up all golden and delicious they are set aside to cool while you chop up a ripe peach and whip some cream with bit of sugar and a few drops of vanilla.
The crust is crispy, the curd is smooth, the peaches are juicy, and the topping is creamy. It's got that whole crispy-creamy sweet&tart appeal that is somehow both decadent and fresh tasting.
With summer fading fast it's the best way to celebrate the season before it fades away completely.
...or if you live in Alberta it's the best way to willfully live in denial. There's already snow falling in various places across the province! But if I squint my eyes and just look at the tarts it still looks like summer. Sweet, sweet denial.
Peach Apricot Tarts
1/2 cup pureed ripe apricot
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 TBSP butter
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled (I used Stirling Churn84)
3 to 4 tbsp cold water
1 ripe peach, diced
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 - 2 TBSP icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Make the apricot curd:
Whisk together all of the curd ingredients except the butter in a medium heat-proof bowl.
Place the bowl over a small pot of gently simmering water and gently whisk or stir until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, approximately 7-12 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the cold butter, one piece at a time. Allow the butter to mix in completely before adding the next piece.
Place the bowl back over the simmering water and stir for an additional minute or two.
Remove from heat. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the apricot curd to prevent a skin from forming.
Place in the fridge to chill overnight before using.
Make the Crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the chilled butter into 1-inch cubes and add them to the bowl. Pulse until the mixture looks crumbly and there are no pieces of butter bigger than a pea. Gradually pulse in the cold water until the mixture still looks crumbly, but holds together when pinched.
Dump the crumbly mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap, cover with another piece of plastic wrap and firmly press into a disk. Place the disk in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 50 minutes (or up to two days).
Preheat the oven to 375F
Once the dough has chilled, place it between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to 1/8th of an inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter larger than your tart tins to cut out the tart shells. Place the shells into a tin (I used the disposable aluminum ones that you can get at the grocery store, but if you're fancy and have mini tart tins go ahead and use those). Be careful not to stretch the dough as you press it into the tin or it will shrink while baking. Crimp the edges of the tart shell with a fork.
Bake the shells at 375F for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown. Ensure that the bottoms of the shells have baked as well. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack to room temp.
Assemble the tarts:
Whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla. Place some of the diced peach in each tart shell, top with a dollop of apricot curd and a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with another piece of peach and serve.
Note: This recipe will make more apricot curd than you need. I like having leftovers to spread on toast or serve with chopped stone fruit and ice cream. If you wish to put it all into tarts, double the crust recipe and form the dough into two disks. Keep one disk in the fridge while you roll out the other to ensure it stays cold.
Full Disclosure: Stirling provided me with butter, but I bake with it because I genuinely enjoy the product and find the quality makes a difference. I did not receive payment for this post