I’ve been on a dessert roll lately. Frankly it needs to stop. Unless I want to shop for new pants, which I don’t. My mother in law and I are bad influences on each other. We both love food, love cooking, and love trying new recipes. When we get together we tear through white wine cookbooks like nothing you have ever seen. (anyone remember Ottolenghi fest of 2011?)
This visit we broke out a cookbook I think I received as wedding gift, but somehow had not managed to try. It’s a dessert book from Williams Sonoma that focuses on the “new healthy kitchen”. The desserts are lighter and very fruit centered. We all loved this apricot tart which was born from it’s pages. When I see apricots I usually think barbecue sauce, not tart. This apricot tart is very earthy, with a cornmeal crust which has a really neat texture to it. The filling is a light apricot jam with a hint of vanilla, and the fruit is roasted with minimal sugar on top. So this is one dessert you don’t feel badly about. You know, unless you slathered it in whipped cream.
from Desserts by Williams Sonoma
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 cups plain yogurt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 teaspoon cornstarch
8-10 firm ripe apricots, sliced into 8ths
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons sugar
To make the pastry combine butter, flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add yogurt and pulse until the mixture starts to hold together. Turn out onto a board and work into a ball. Cut the ball in half and press each half into a disk. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out half the dough between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. (save the other for another project. A week in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer) Transfer the dough to a 9″ tart pan and use the rolling pin to trim away the excess dough. Cover with the plastic wrap and place the tart in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (10 in the freezer if you are in a rush)
Preheat the oven to 350º. Fit the tart with parchment paper and then fill the tart to the top with dried beans or pie weights. I have a jar of beans I use for just this occasion. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has set.
Remove the pie weights and parchment. Bake for 10 more minutes or until very lightly golden. Brush with egg white and bake 5 minutes more. The egg white seals the tart shell so that the bottom doesn’t get mushy when baked with the fruit inside. A great trick to remember, even if your recipe does not call for it! Cool the shell on a wire rack.
Stir apricot jam, vanilla extract, and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Spread the jam mixture onto the cooled shell. Lay the sliced apricots inside in a pleasing pattern. Or not- if you are in the mood for random improvisation. Dust the sugar over top. The recipe called for 1 tablespoon sugar, but my apricots were a little on the tart side and I felt they needed more. If you are using super sweet and luscious apricots, then 1 should suffice, if your apricots are a little on the sour side, use more. Bake for 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender and bubbling.
Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar, some lightly sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or just in the nude. Anyway you slice it you are sure to love it.