This time of year sees the arrival of stone fruits – peaches, nectarines, plums, Mirabelles (if you can track them down in Scotland), greengages and my favourite – apricots!
Fond memories of a holiday in France, plucking the slightly fuzzy fruit from an esplanaded tree outside our gîte; bees buzzing lazily around the lavender, the air heavy with perfume from blowsy roses.
Looking like flushed cheeks, they tasted sublime – sweet and perfumed.
Sitting in my garden under the rose bower (actually a rope that the raggy blooms cling to), with an overgrown and straggly lavender bush sharing the same bed, I close my eyes and could almost be back in that quiet moment before anyone else is up.
Unfortunately, there are no apricots growing up a south wall; nothing to gorge on, nothing to turn into preserves (not jam, these beauties deserve better – a soft set, yielding conserve). The bees drift idly from flower to flower as I contemplate the evening’s pudding.
In the fridge, there’s a punnet of small apricots that are starting to wrinkle. I forgot they were there – *tsk* *tsk* bad Bunny!
Apricots have an affinity with almonds and therefore lend themselves to frangipane, as do the majority of stone fruits. This recipe is my take on a cherry Bakewell tart. Replacing the shortcrust with filo (you can use an all butter puff pastry), apricots for cherries, oh and ditch the icing.
It’s a quick, simple, foolproof recipe. You don’t have to stick to apricots, any fruit works well; use a matching jam or a complementary one. The addition of orange flower water adds a Middle Eastern touch, but don’t overdo it!
I like to serve it with a dollop of lightly whipped cream sprinkled with a few lavender flowers.
Apricot Frangipane Tart
Punnet fresh apricots
3oz/75g butter, softened
3oz/75g caster sugar
3oz/75g ground almonds
4 sheets of filo pastry
2tbls apricot preserve
Cut the apricots in half and remove the stones, and set the fruit to one side.
Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly.
Beat in the ground almonds, put to one side while you prepare the filo pastry.
Butter a shallow square tin, line with a sheet of filo, brush with butter. Continue with all the other sheets, brushing liberally with butter, except for the last one.
Spread the preserve over the pastry and top with the frangipane mix.
Place the apricots on top in a pretty pattern.
Bake in a preheated oven (180C/Fan160C/Gas4) for about 25-30 minutes or until the batter has just set and the pastry is golden.
Cool in the tin.
Serve at room temperature with cream.
(C) Lea Harris, In the Kitchen with BakersBunny, 2019.