Monday, June 20, 2016

Apricot Strawberry Tart

Summer fruit desserts!

I don’t even have to make a complete sentence out of that exclamation. Those three words speak entirely for themselves. They are subject, predicate, adjective, and adverb. They are the reason extra-warm weather can be borne at all. Perhaps that last one is an exaggeration, but I got a bit excited (and a bit too hot this weekend.)

And this tart really is something to get excited about. It’s simple and a little rustic while still being delicate. It’s gently sweet, but mostly fruity. It doesn’t require much effort, especially since I adapted the crust and topping recipe for the food processor. It takes even less effort to eat it, because it’s so delicious.

The crust is a nutty-tasting combination of white whole wheat flour and almond flour, along with butter and egg yolks. The filling is simply sliced apricots and strawberries and a bit of apricot jam. The crust is sweetened with some sugar, but the overall sweetness of the tart is determined by the sweetness of the fresh fruit.

A long time ago, I tried using white whole wheat flour and found it totally unsatisfying as an ingredient. I think I understand it a little better now, however, and got brave enough to use it here with great results. “White whole wheat” is simply a variety of wheat that is lighter in color and slightly milder in flavor. Flour ground from it may look more like all-purpose flour, but it really behaves more like ordinary whole wheat flour in baking. It’s good in this recipe where the softness and gluten content of a refined flour isn’t needed and the slightly nuttier flavor is welcome. I think you could also use whole wheat pastry flour, or perhaps a multigrain flour (like the mixture I used in this post), or even oat flour.

You could also use other fruits in this lovely tart, specially other berries. I like apricots because I’m not sure this crumbly crust could handle extra-juicy fruits like peaches. I’m wondering, however, whether apples would be nice in this tart in the fall, or if the combination of plums and grapes in this recipe might find a home between this almond-infused crust and topping. 

You could serve this tart with whipped topping or ice cream for dessert. I found myself not adding anything to it unless I ate it for breakfast, in which case, I added a dollop of vanilla yogurt on top. Since the fruit is really the star, eating this tart for breakfast with yogurt it totally legitimate. Really. Totally legitimate. Enjoy!

Apricot Strawberry Tart
Adapted from Eating Well, May/June 2016

For the Crust and Topping:
1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
½ cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1/3 cup apricot jam
2 cups sliced (about ½ -inch) fresh apricots
1 ½ cups strawberries, leaves removed and left whole if small, or sliced if larger
1 tablespoon white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a 10-inch (or a 9-inch will work, too) springform pan with cooking spray (or grease it with oil or butter). Set aside.

2. To make the crust and topping: combine the white whole wheat flour, almond flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, lemon zest, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and process until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand. If you pinch the mixture together, it should stay together in a damp lump.

3. Set aside 1 cup of the crust mixture (this will be the topping.) Press the remaining crust mixture firmly into the bottom and an inch or so up the sides of the prepared springform pan.

4. Stir the apricot jam well to loosen it and spread it evenly over the crust. Arrange the apricots in a ring around the outside of the pan. Overlap slightly if needed. Arrange the strawberries evenly in the center of the pan. I used small strawberries, so I simply cut the leaves off and set them pointed end up in the pan.

5. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the fruit. Place the pan on a baking sheet.

6. Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 F and bake an additional 30-35 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the crust and topping are golden brown. Cool on a rack for 1 hour. Remove the outer ring of the pan and slice to serve. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt if desired.

Makes 10-12 servings (fewer if you like large slices!)

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