Apricot Tart with Frangipane

This apricot tart is full of fresh apricots that are sitting on a buttery frangipane, or almond cream, all nestled in a crumbly sweet tart shell. On top are chopped pistachios, for the wow factor.

Plate with an slice of apricot tart filled with frangipane and topped with chopped pistachios

This is the show-stopping summer dessert to pull out when you really want to impress guests. In classic Italian tradition, a rich, creamy, almost silken apricot and almond filling is juxtaposed with flaky pastry. It takes a little time. But the oohs and aahs that each forkful bring are worth every moment of effort.–Angie Zoobkoff

What is Orange Blossom Water?

Orange blossom water brings the subtle essence of orange to recipes. Sorta as if someone had waved an orange over a vial of water and chanted some incantations. It’s made from orange blossoms rather than orange zest so it lends your recipes a lighter, arguably lovelier, lilt than you may expect.

Special Equipment: 9-inch (23-cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom

Apricot Tart with Frangipane

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 4 H
  • Serves 8
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Ingredients

  • For the pastry
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon mahleb (mahlepi) powder (optional)
  • Pinch table salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter (6 oz), cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • For the filling
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 oz), softened, plus extra for the pan
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 6 ripe apricots (10 oz), halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted pistachio nuts

Directions

  • Make the pastry
  • 1. In a food processor, add the flour, mahleb powder, if using, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse to combine. Toss in the confectioners’ sugar and egg yolks and pulse until the mixture starts to come together into a dough.
  • 2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and then gather it into a ball and gently flatten it to a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
  • 3. Butter a 9-inch (23-cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Grab a hand grater and use the coarse side to grate the pastry dough into the tart pan, making sure that the bottom and sides are evenly covered and there are no gaps. [Editor’s Note: We know. This seems like a ridiculously unconventional way to make a crust. But trust us. It works. Trust us. Resist the urge to simply pat the dough into place.] Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • 4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • 5. Line the pastry with a sheet of parchment paper and fill the crust with uncooked beans or rice to weight it and hold it in place. Then bake the pastry for 15 minutes. Slowly and carefully remove the paper along with the beans or rice. Some of the pastry may separate; if this happens, gently press it back together with the back of a spoon. Bake the uncovered pastry until lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let the crust cool completely while you make the filling.
  • Make the filling
  • 6. Reduce the oven temperature to 340°F (170°C).
  • 7. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and sugar together until pale and light.
  • 8. In the food processor, pulse the almonds to a to a coarse rubble; you don’t want powder, so be careful not to overwork them. Beat the almonds into the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, and finally add the orange blossom water, gently mixing just until everything is combined.
  • Assemble the apricot tart
  • 9. Spoon the filling into the crust and top with the apricot halves, cut-side up. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter with the chopped pistachios. Bake until the tart is a deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.
  • 10. Let the tart cool completely in the pan. Then when you’re ready to show it off, remove the side of the tart pan, slice, and prepare to receive accolades.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

You will be so proud to present this beautiful and truly impressive apricot tart with frangipane to your guests. Although it requires a bit of time, it’s a relaxing recipe with much of the required time applying to chilling, baking, and cooling. This showy dessert was fun to make and boasts of complex and delicious flavor components and textures.

Oh, and about that light, crunchy, flavorful crust! It was awesome! I was a bit concerned about following the directions to simply pile the grated dough into the tart pan. I was very tempted to pat it down molding it into all the nooks and crannies of the fluted pan. I am so glad I resisted the urge! The crust beautifully (and seemingly magically) filled and formed the shape of the pan as it blind-baked, and allowed for easy removal from the pan once filled, cooked, and cooled.

After not-so patiently waiting for this beautiful creation to cool, the first tasting was admittedly a little disappointing. We all thought initially that in contrast to each other, the filling seemed too sweet and the apricots seemed too tart. I expected the flavors to meld together more. However, the next day, that is exactly what happened! The combination of the filling and the apricots, along with the flavor components of orange blossom, almond and pistachio, resulted in an absolutely perfect and satisfying harmony. Yes, feel free to make ahead as this is better—MUCH better on the second day!

My ripe apricots were large and it didn’t seem possible or logical to drop the halved apricots on top of the frangipane, they were just too big, so instead I sliced each one into 8 wedges and placed them, peel edge down, close together in what I can best call a concentric sunburst pattern.

This apricot tart with frangipane is show-stopper indeed, and a nail-bite. Making this frangipane was a wild ride! I’m so glad I made it though, as we can’t wait to enjoy this divine tart again. The finished frangipane was gorgeous and absolutely delectable. Every element had the right texture and flavor—golden brown (even the entire bottom) buttery crust, not-too-sweet almond filling with beautiful floral notes of orange blossom water, and tender apricots with refreshing tartness.

Two photos of an apricot-frangipane tart--the left is the whole tart, the right is a slice on a square plate

How was making it a wild ride? Well first, I felt nervous about just grating the dough and not pressing it into the pan before baking the crust. But when I lifted the pie weights I was relieved to see that the shredded dough had puffed up and filled in any gaps that may have been there (phew).

The excitement wasn’t over then. I checked the frangipane after it baked for 30 minutes, and realized some of the filling had begun to overflow (thank goodness for the foil-lined baking sheet underneath it). Maintaining Julia Child’s just-keep-going attitude, I closed the oven door, took a deep breath, and proceeded with the rest of the steps. By the time the frangipane finished baking with pistachios on top, it couldn’t have looked more disastrous with a greasy bubbling black mess all over outside of the tart pan. But seeing that the tart itself wasn’t burned (a big phew), I knew there was still hope.

While the gooey mess was still hot, with a paper towel I carefully pushed the overflowed filling down the side and away from the pan (I felt like an archaeologist brushing dirt off of an ancient gem). Revealed was a beautiful frangipane, perfectly presentable at any special occasion.

The tart took 2 hours to completely cool, but the texture was still a bit delicate for cutting. After 3 more hours it sliced significantly cleaner, as the crust, the filling, and the apricots had settled together more tightly. But the real pleasant surprise came the following day. I had refrigerated the leftover portion (unsliced), and discovered that this frangipane could be made a day ahead without losing its superb quality—the filling was still moist and fragrant, the crust was not soggy even the slightest, and the apricots still tasted fresh.

In the end, this frangipane triumphed and was adored by all—a little anxiety was a small price to pay!

This apricot tart with frangipane is rich in taste so a small slice is definitely enough. The texture of the cake was very pleasant. It had a lovely taste—almond, orange, apricot, and pistachio were all evident in the taste.

The apricots were not visible in the finished cake as the frangipane had baked up over them.

The pastry dough was very sticky after adding the butter and I wondered how I would be able to work with the dough. Then I saw that the dough was to be grated onto the baking pan. This is a technique that I have not used before and I wondered if I should be pressing the grated dough down into the case and if it should be pressed into the sides of the flan pan. Next time I might press the pastry into the pan and up the sides. I might also try to roll the pastry out, but I suspect it is too buttery to do that easily.

I would recommend this cake—it reminded me of Moroccan flavors.

Comments

  1. Should we pat down/press the grated pastry dough after it’s evenly dispersed? Also, what are your thoughts on toasting the almonds before processing them? Thanks!

    1. Beth, I know it’s an unconventional approach to making pastry, but no, there’s no need to pat it down, and in fact if you do you’ll mar the lovely texture of the pastry that would otherwise result from not touching it. And you could toast them, as that’s common for baked goods, although we think they have a little more tender sweetness that’s welcome in this recipe when raw. But if you like a more pronounced almond flavor, by all means, give them a gentle toasting.

    1. I like the way you’re thinking, Lynn. Peaches may be a touch juicier and sweeter than apricots so you may end up with a tart that’s a touch sweeter and a little looser in consistency. But we say try it!

      1. Hi. I also have a lot of juicy peaches & this recipe looks very enticing. Would it work if I “dry” the peaches a bit in the oven for a few hours before using them? Or drain them in a strainer for awhile? I’m concerned that the batter would be really watery.
        Thanks for all the wonderful recipes in this column.

        1. I think those are both splendid ideas, Tricia. If it was me, I’d try draining them rather than drying them. The latter could work perfectly, but since I haven’t tried it, I’d like to err on the other side, as I worry the peaches may turn a touch rubbery later during baking in the tart. Kindly let us know how it goes! And you are so very welcome! Not much brings us more pleasure than hearing people trying a recipe and loving it. Food connects us to our loved ones and even to strangers…

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