Apricot jam instantly makes me think of fall and winter. And not only until very recently I understood why: I suddenly remembered some of my childhood days, when I’d visit my godmother. In cold, rainy afternoons we’d have tea together, with toasts and apricot jam. She’d have the table so beautifully set, with gorgeous china and all the trimmings... That was pretty amazing for a 7 year old. :)
Cold days here in Sao Paulo + this tart + good childhood memories = a very happy 31 year old girl. :)
Apricot and almond tart
slightly adapted from Baking by Flavor
1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 tablespoons (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)
2/3 cup apricot preserves
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F; Butter a 21cm (8½ in) fluted round tart pan* (with a removable bottom) and place it on a baking sheet.
Sift the all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a small bowl. Set aside.
Cream the butter in a large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1-2 minutes. Blend in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to keep the mixture even-textured. Blend in the almond flour.
On low speed, add the sifted mixture in two additions, beating until the dough comes together in large and small curds. Remove the bowl from the stand. With a rubber spatula, work the mixture until it comes together in a dough, pressing sections together. Using your hands, lightly knead the dough on a work surface for 1 minute – the dough should be buttery and firm, but workable.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Lightly form each portion into a rounded cake.
Roll one portion of dough between two sheets of baking paper to a round about 24cm (9½ in) in diameter. Place the dough (still between the paper sheets) on a cookie sheet and freeze for 5-10 minutes while you work with the other portion of dough.
Roll out the remaining dough between sheets of baking paper to a round measuring about 23cm (9in) in diameter. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough disk onto the tart pan. Peel off the second sheet of paper.
Lightly press the dough onto the bottom and sides of the tart pan.
Combine the apricot preserves and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Spoon the preserves on the layer of dough and spread on the bottom with a small offset palette knife.
Remove the dough from the freezer and peel off the top sheet of paper. Using a 3.75cm (1½ in) cookie cutter (such as a heart cutter), stamp out 33 pieces of dough as close as possible to each other**.
Place the cut outs around the perimeter of the tart (the edge of the dough), then follow with a second ring of cut outs in the middle of the tart, and finally fill in the center with 3 cut outs. Overlap the remaining cut outs attractively in the middle.
Place the tart on the cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the apricot filling is bubbly and the cut outs are golden. The tart must be fully baked and golden or it will be pasty textured in the center.
Carefully transfer the tart pan to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Carefully unmold and serve cut into wedges.
* I used a 24cm tart pan;
** I covered the tart with the cut outs but did not want to overlap them – instead, I baked the extra cut outs as cookies (photo below)