How is everyone this fine Sunday in July? How is it already the middle of July? Why is it still so humid? Why am I tearing up any time I think about Serena’s march back to the Wimbledon final? I’m here to ask life’s big questions, friends.
In case you need a dessert to cool you down and also make you feel like you’re sitting at a cozy table in a French patisserie, this apricot tart is for you. With a sweet crust, simple vanilla pastry cream filling, and bright layer of fresh apricots, it’s the kind of simply perfect dessert that makes me wish I had kept up with my French studies and actually made it to Paris. Luckily all the components here are easy enough for anyone to make at home, so we can all create our own patisserie in our kitchens and share this tart with friends.
If you follow me with an eagle eye on Instagram, you might have spotted photos in my stories last weekend of a quick trip up to Traverse City. It’s my happiest of happy places, and my husband and I went on a quick anniversary getaway (thanks, Dad, for babysitting!) for three glorious days. We biked up to Suttons Bay, with a few stops for wine tasting and an unexpected ride back due to my inability to read a bus timetable, hiked up to Pyramid Point, stared at the general beauty of Lake Michigan, and ate A LOT of great food.
We started out one of our days at a great French patisserie and brunch restaurant that had a drool-worthy pastry case. I went with a brie and champignon omelette, but I was eyeing the heck out of a beautiful cream tart with raspberries. Once we got home, I decided I had to recreate it. My local store had tons of fresh apricots, and since my kids love them I decided to put them on top of the tart in place of raspberries. I think the slight tartness of the apricots really balances out the sweet pastry cream nicely.
The only part of the tart you have to bake is the crust, and you can do that a day or two ahead of time. You can also make the pastry cream ahead of time, so all you have to do when you want to serve it is slice up the apricots, spoon the cream into the crust, and make as perfect a fan of apricot slices as you can. Or go with a completely random design! Go nuts, and make sure you save yourself a slice before your friends and family gobble this up. You could also play around with the filling, using this one or this one. Basically, what I’m saying is you should make a tart crust, fill it however you like, and put some fresh fruit on top. Because we still deserve dessert in the middle of a never-ending July heat wave.
- !For the tart crust:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and at room temperature
- 4-5 apricots, sliced thinly
- Powdered sugar for garnish
- Butter a tart pan and set aside.
- Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Scatter the butter pieces overthe top and pulse until the butter is coarsley cut in. Stir the yolk in a small bowl, then add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition.
- Once the egg is added, pulse for 10 seconds at a time until the dough forms clumps and curds.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead it very lightly just to make sure all the crumbs are incorporated.
- Gently press the tart dough into the prepared pan, making sure to get evenly up the sides. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and press it down on top of the crust. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and bake another 8 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Allow the crust to cool completely.
- Bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, place the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and whisk them together. Pour ¼ cup of the milk into the egg mixture and whisk continuously, then slowly pour in the rest of the milk, still whisking the entire time. Put the saucepan over medium heat and, whisking continuously, bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, still whisking, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the vanilla. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then add in the butter pieces. Pour the pastry cream into a bowl, fit plastic wrap tightly over the mixture so that it is airtight, and chill in the refrigerator until cold.
- When ready to assemble the tart, spread the pastry cream evenly into the crust. Arrange the apricot slices over the top, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve.