Apricots, Tamed

July 25th, 2009  |  17 Comments

Roasted apricot tarts made better with a scoop of ginger ice cream.

apricot-tart-final-2

Oh, apricots. How you mock me.

On Saturday, as I ambled along the perimeter of the farmer’s market nearby, I spotted these. They sang their siren song. I had to have them.

apricot-tart-apricots


And then I got them home and my world fell apart. Before I even had a chance to put down the keys, I reached into the carton, took a big, greedy bite, and…

…was slapped in the tastebuds with sourness previously unknown to man.

What is it with apricots? It’s like they come with their own drug dealer. When you’re wide-eyed and innocent, this pusher seduces you with that first perfect specimen. You think “Praise be! This apricot came down straight from the heavens!” Your saliva juices part. You forget your manners and annihilate the thing as though you’ve never seen food before. Nothing left but a bare pit. And then it’s all over.

You keep meeting up with the apricot dealer, hoping and praying that you get another that is even a little bit like the one you remember. Alas, always to disappoint. But, do I give up? Never! Hey, dealer: next time, I will avoid the “pretty” and go with the “fragrant,” see?

Meanwhile, what to do with this inferior lot? Well, I’ll roast them, I reckon. Add back the sugar that nature robbed them of. And what to do with the roasted fruit? Wrap them in cream cheese dough, I suppose!

apricot-tart-on-spatula

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I think I was on to something. This recipe is so easy to put together, even a monkey could do it (no offense to monkeys.)

Here I served the tarts with ginger ice cream, a pairing really made in the heavens. And then maybe I warmed up to these apricots after all.

Roasted Apricot Tartlettes
makes about a dozen

(This roasting method works with just about any stone fruit. Try it with peaches, nectarines, or plums.)

15 small apricots
granulated sugar, as much as needed to cover the bottom of your roasting pan

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 sticks (8 oz. butter)
1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese

For the egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Optional turbinado sugar (some times seen as “Sugar in the Raw” brand) for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. All the fixin’s together.

apricot-tart-ingredients

 

2. Generously sprinkle enough granulated sugar to cover the bottom of a roasting pan.

apricot-tart-pour-sugar

 

3. Slice the apricots in half along their natural indentation…

apricot-tart-splitting

 

… and pit.

apricot-tart-pit

 

4. Lay them out face down.

apricot-tart-ready-to-roast

 

Roast in the preheated 375°F oven.

apricot-tart-roasting-apricots

 

You want them to soften up a little and get juicy. Time usually depends on how ripe and soft they are to begin with. Mine were rock hard and spent 15 minutes in the oven. Here they are after 10 minutes. The sugar is getting syrupy.

apricot-roasted-10-minutes

 

Flip them with a spoon. They can, in effect, baste themselves.

apricot-tart-flip-apricot

Roast for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. (You can save the syrup. It’s crazy delicious. Flavor iced tea, or drizzle over the tarts themselves.)

 

5. Meanwhile, make the dough. Throw the flour into a bowl.

apricot-tart-flour

 

6. Cut up the butter and throw it in too.

apricot-tart-add-butter

 

7. Next, scoop the cream cheese into the bowl, too.

apricot-tart-cream-cheese

 

8. Cut up with a pastry cutter (or get in there with your hands.)

apricot-tart-cut-dough

 

Sooner or later you’ll have to get in there yourself, anyway. Shaggy, so far.

apricot-tart-hand-in-dough

 

Dough starts to come together.

apricot-tart-dough

 

Form a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour (you can also make it the day before.) This firms it up to make the rolling easier.

apricot-tart-wrapped-dough

 

9. Now, preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously flour a large surface. Then flour the top of the dough. It’s quite a sticky bugger.

apricot-tart-dough-to-roll

 

apricot-tart-dough-rolling

 

As you’re rolling, rotate the dough 90° every couple of presses of the rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking. Try to work quickly. This dough gets stickier as it becomes warmer. Keep flouring as needed.

apricot-tart-rotate-dough

 

Rolled dough.

apricot-tart-dough-rolled

 

10. Cut out rounds. I had a wide-mouthed glass, but a large cookie cutter, or even an empty carton of, say, cottage cheese or yogurt would work.

apricot-tart-dough-cut-out

 

Move them to a sheet pan. If they stick to your surface, scrape them up carefully with a spatula.

apricot-tart-scrape-rounds

 

apricot-tart-dough-circles

 

11. Load them up with apricot halves. I used 2 per circle.

apricot-tart-dough-with-apricot

 

Pinch one side closed…

apricot-tart-pinch-1

 

…then the other side.

apricot-tart-pinch-2

apricot-tart-triangles

 

12. Make an egg wash by whisking together the egg and milk. This will give the tartlettes an attractive golden color.

apricot-tart-egg-wash

 

apricot-tart-brush

 

Brush each tart.

apricot-tart-brush-on

 

If you’re so inclined, sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

apricot-tart-turbinado-sugar

 

Stick them in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow the fats in the dough to firm up.

apricot-tart-freeze

 

Bake them in a preheated 350°F oven. Mine took about 30 minutes. Don’t go by time. Go by color. You want them golden. This may take as much as 45 minutes.

apricot-tart-bake

 

Golden. A couple of them unfurled, but so what, I say.

apricot-tart-baked

 

Get thee to me.

apricot-tart-on-spatula

 

Extra

If you want to made a pistachio powder like in the photo above to use as garnish, grind them in a spice grinder (only long enough to make powder. They will turn to paste if overprocessed.) You can do this with any nut, but I like pistachio because they add green to a plate.

apricot-tart-pistachios

apricot-tart-ground-pistachios



Roasted Apricot Tartlettes
makes about a dozen

(This roasting method works with just about any stone fruit. Try it with peaches, nectarines, or plums.)

15 small apricots
granulated sugar, as much as needed to cover the bottom of your roasting pan

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 sticks (8 oz. butter)
1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese

For the egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Optional turbinado sugar (some times seen as “Sugar in the Raw” brand) for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Generously sprinkle enough granulated sugar to cover the bottom of a roasting pan.

3. Slice the apricots in half along their natural indentation and pit them. Lay them out face down on the sugar coated roasting pan.

4. Roast in the preheated 375°F oven. You want them to soften up a little and get juicy. Time usually depends on how ripe and soft they are to begin with. Mine were rock hard and spent 15 minutes in the oven. Halfway through baking flip them with a spoon. Remove from the oven and let cool. (You can save the syrup. It’s crazy delicious. Flavor iced tea, or drizzle over the tarts themselves.)

5. While the apricots are roasting, make the dough. Throw the flour into a bowl. Cut up the butter into small cubes and throw it in too. Next, scoop the cream cheese into the bowl. Cut up everything with a pastry cutter (or get in there with your hands.) You’ll still need to give the dough a few turns with your hands. Knead until it comes together.

6. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour (you can also make it the day before.) This firms it up to make the rolling easier and relaxes the gluten in the dough.

7. Now, preheat your oven to 350°F.

8. To roll the dough: Generously flour a large surface. Then flour the top of the dough. It’s quite a sticky bugger. As you’re rolling, rotate the dough 90° every couple of presses of the rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking. Try to work quickly. This dough gets stickier as it becomes warmer. Keep flouring as needed.

9. Cut out rounds about 4″ in diameter. I had a wide-mouthed glass, but a large cookie cutter, or even an empty carton of, say, cottage cheese or yogurt would work.

10. Move the rounds to a sheet pan. If they stick to your surface, scrape them up carefully with a spatula.

11. Load them up with apricot halves. I used 2 per circle.

12. Pinch one side closed, then the other two sides to make a triangle.

13. Make an egg wash by whisking together the egg and milk. This will give the tartlettes an attractive golden color. Brush each tart. If you’re so inclined, sprinkle each tart with turbinado sugar.

14. Stick them in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow the fats in the dough to firm up.

15. Bake them in a preheated 350°F oven. Mine took about 30 minutes. Don’t go by time. Go by color. You want them golden. This may take as much as 45 minutes.






17 Responses to “Apricots, Tamed”

  1. Zill.y says:

    You did it again!

    I guess, this is what we’ll have for tea this afternoon. Looks most delicious.

    And should work with blueberries, too. What do you think?

    Cheers to the eastcoast, Zill.y

  2. PastryPal says:

    Hi Zilly–Blueberries might work, but I wonder about their high water content. I imagine they’d burst and ooze out all over the place while baking, but that might be a pretty and rustic result. If you try something with them, please let me know what happens. I wouldn’t bother roasting them. Maybe treat them like a pie filling and toss them raw with sugar and cornstarch and some lemon zest if you’re feeling zesty and mound them in the dough before shaping.

  3. Kevin says:

    Those look so good! What a great way to enjoy the apricots!

  4. Olga says:

    I’ve not had apricots yet these year. Yours look awesome.
    Aren’t these tarts the same as hamentashen? :)
    Regardless of the name, they look delicious.

  5. PastryPal says:

    Hi Olga, Run and get your apricots before the season is over!

    True, there are some similarities. The shape is the same as hamentashen, and maybe the filling is similar in that it’s made with stone fruit. Hamentashen would not have butter or cream cheese in the dough to keep kosher, and I’ve always made them with a plum jam and nut paste. I also find the hamentashen to be more cookie-like in texture and flavor. I have a post about those coming up!

  6. Indigo says:

    Oh me, oh my. Could these look any better? I think not. Gorgeous gorgeous photos, and I bet the ginger ice cream went beautifully – and pistachios, guh, it’s like you made these for me!

  7. deeba says:

    Your blog took my breath away…It’s ♥ly. I love the idea of these tartlettes too…ans am thinking of other fruit to work into them since the apricot season here has disappeared. I love roasting peaches & plums & made a delicious ice-cream with them the other day! Thank you for posting these, so beautifully too…Oh, & one last thng.Pistachios bring so much colour to food! It’s lovely to see them here!

  8. Sophia says:

    I love your blog! Esp the crisp step-by-step directions…So clear to me now! And yes, it would be more than PERFECT with ginger ice cream indeed!

  9. Y says:

    The colour of those apricots look amazing, if even they didn’t deliver on flavour to begin with. You’ve certainly managed to make something even better out of them :)

  10. Linda says:

    omg this is awesome.. and it looks simple too!! We’re in the middle of winter, but this tart just screams Spring. I can’t wait to try this out in a couple of months. Once again, thanks heaps for the step by step photos, it does it make it muuuuch easier.

  11. Lorna says:

    damn this technology—I wanted to smell this cooking!

  12. Ben says:

    HI There

    Really stunning food photos. First off apologies for contacting you through the comments instead of by email but I wanted to bring FoodandFizz to your attention as a great place for you to share some of your photos. We would love to feature some of your photos and hopefully send a little traffic back this way to you :) Drop me an email if you have any problems and look forward to seeing your stuff

    Regards

    Ben

  13. John says:

    We’re just about to get our first ice-cream maker (a Cuisinart ICE 30) so I was very pleased to find your ginger ice cream recipe which looks great! That led us here, but I have a tiny problem.
    Being British I’m not familiar with ‘all-purpose flour’. I’m guessing it is what I’d call ‘plain’ (without any raising agent), or do you mean what we call ‘self-raising’?
    Anyway, thanks for the recipes, we’re really looking forward to trying them :)
    John

  14. PastryPal says:

    John—Congrats on your purchase and enjoy your first homemade ice cream! And to clear things up, all-purpose flour is “plain.” It has no leavening agents.

  15. John says:

    Thanks for confirming the type of flour, PastryPal. My daughter Siân (12 yrs) is very keen to find yet more desserts and puddings to cook for us, so if I’m not back here soon I’m sure she will be!
    Thanks, John.

  16. momof12 says:

    I have been looking for apricot recipes! This one looks yummy. Check out my salsa recipe (I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your apricot pic.)
    Sandy

  17. TTiny says:

    off to the store!

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