Apricot tart. A simple summer dessert that, when executed in this fashion, is essentially the French take on fruit crumble. God, we love the French.
David Lebovitz, in his inimitable way, has brought us the food equivalent of Franglais, which refers to words that are half French and half English. His apricot tart recipe results in something that’s suspiciously similar to an apple crumble in appearance yet boasts all the finesse of classic French pastry. Originally published August 7, 2014.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Photo: Elie Nassar
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 2 H, 30 M
- Serves 8 to 10
Special Equipment: 9- or 10-inch springform pan
- For the pastry crust
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- For the crumble topping
- 3/4 cup (75 grams) whole almonds
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (60 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- For the apricot tart filling
- 2 pounds (900 grams) ripe, fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Make the pastry crust
- 1. Place the chilled butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and let it sit for 10 minutes so it softens slightly.
- 2. Add the sugar to the butter and beat on medium speed just until no visible lumps of butter remain, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and mix just until combined. Then add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. (You can also make the dough in a bowl using a spatula and a little moxie.)
- 3. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with butter. Use the heel of your hand to press the dough into the bottom of the pan and a little less than halfway up the sides. Try to get the bottom as even as possible, not because anyone will see it, but because it will bake more evenly. Put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- 4. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
- 5. Line the dough in the pan with aluminum foil and a single layer of pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights or beans and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the tart shell is browned.
- Make the crumble topping
- 6. Pulse the almonds, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until the almonds are broken up into very small pieces. Add the butter and pulse just a few times, until the mixture looks sandy. Continue to pulse just until the pieces of butter start clumping together. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the crumble topping by chopping the almonds finely and mixing the ingredients with a pastry blender or by hand.) Cover and refrigerate the crumble topping.
- Make the apricot tart filling
- 7. In a bowl, mix the apricots with the sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla and almond extracts. (Do not make the filling more than just a few minutes in advance, as the apricots may become too juicy.)
- Assemble the apricot tart
- 8. Transfer the apricot filling to the tart shell and spread it out evenly. Then strew the crumble topping evenly over the apricots. Bake the tart for about 50 minutes, until the topping is nicely browned. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, then run a knife around the outside of the tart to separate it from the pan. Let it rest for 30 minutes more, then remove the sides of the pan and let the tart cool. The edges may look rather dark, but should taste fine, not burned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This recipe makes for an apricot tart with excellent flavor and really good texture. The flavor of the apricots, along with the hint of almond extract, gives it an almost exotic edge. This filling really pairs perfectly with a rich buttery crust and crumble filled with yet more butter along with brown sugar and almonds. We served it once with vanilla ice cream and once with lightly sweetened whipped cream. It's something I would make again in a heartbeat.
That said, the pastry crust is delicious, but the method of applying it to a springform pan with high edges is needlessly tricky and fiddly. I took a bit of time to try and get it as evenly thick as possible while at the same time getting it halfway up the edges of the springform pan. Why not use a deep tart pan with a removable bottom? We can just chill and roll the dough then fit it in the pan. Simple, neat, and much easier to manage. I will be doing that next time.
Be very diligent in getting the aluminum foil as flat as possible in the pan to cover the dough. This is especially true in the corners. Also remove the beans (or weights) first and then carefully remove the foil (as opposed to just picking up the foil with the weights in it) before finishing baking it. I had a few wrinkles on one side and when I attempted to remove the foil I ended up with a few tears. I had saved a nugget of dough and used that to patch it up.
The good news is that the tart holds together very well once un-molded. This is not a tart that keeps well. It was delicious after an hour out of the oven. The next day though, while the flavor was still great, the pastry and texture suffered from too much liquid that seeped from the juicy apricots. I would say this is something that should be served within 4 to 6 hours at the most for best results. The edges were dark brown, but we loved them. They were not burnt and tasted almost caramelized. This again worked great with the juicy apricots and that slightly bitter hint of almond extract.
I couldn't resist trying it again this weekend with my changes and figured I'd share my results. I loved the flavors and textures of this tart but was not crazy about the method using the springform pan with tall sides. I didn't like patting the dough in the pan as opposed as to simply rolling it into an actual tart pan. So that's what I did. I changed nothing other than switching to a regular tart pan with a removable bottom and rolling the dough evenly and laying it in there. This worked superbly, and I will use this method when I make the recipe again. The one small downside is that I had some (but very little) boil-over. The tart didn't suffer at all and looked great, but I'd recommend putting a baking sheet underneath the tart pan.
Ah, the often-overlooked apricot—how we really should pay you more attention! Leave it to the French to know how to celebrate the apricot's tartness with the rich elements of butter and almonds and not give in to the American urge to mix in sugar by the cupful. The apricot tart's crust was substantial and easily stood up on the dessert plate. The crunchy topping was divine, working to both cut the tartness of the apricots and impart its nuttiness. What I love about apricots, unlike peaches, is that they are so easy to prepare. Just remove the pit and they are ready--no need to peel. I purchased slightly fewer apricots than called for by the recipe. (I purchased 7 apricots, which weighed approximately 1 1/3 pounds.) I don't think you'd need the full 2 pounds unless you really have a hankering for apricots. The dough came together without a fuss. A minute in the mixing bowl and it was ready to go. It was easy to form into the pan and created a pretty thick crust that didn't crumble when plated. The cooking times appeared accurate. I think this recipe is really unique and would really fit the bill if you are looking for an elegant dessert recipe that isn't overly sweet. However, for this reason, I think its appeal will largely lie with adults.
If you like your tarts tart, then this apricot tart recipe is for you. The crust is like a perfectly baked buttery sable cookie. It does get quite brown after the two baking periods, but it doesn't burn. Be sure to make both the bottom and the sides of the crust nice and even so they'll bake evenly. The dough may thin out when you press it up the sides, but try to make it almost as thick as the bottom crust to make it less likely to overcook. I mixed the dough for 1 minute, and it didn’t really come together, but it appeared to be well-mixed, so I decided to press it into the pan. The baking time of 50 minutes was perfect. As soon as the filling is mixed, the apricots begin to exude their juices, so I suggest that you immediately assemble the tart after the filling is mixed together.