There is something delightfully comforting and luxurious about a homemade tart. In my family, we love to have something like this on Friday to celebrate the end of the week Nordic style with something we call fredagskos. It's simple, but special. And if we're lucky there is enough for the weekend too!
We might not be able to get fresh apricots in the winter in Norway (at the time of writing this it's April and we are only just seeing the first signs of spring), but tinned apricots are fabulous for something like this delicious tart, and give us a taste of warmer times to come.
This is my own recipe and combines apricots with their best friend, almonds. I love the mix of cultures with this. Tarte frangipane is most definitely a French dish, but almonds are part of so many sweet Scandinavian dishes and baked items. It's a combination of two cultures and cuisines that we might think are not intertwined, but actually share a very long cultural history dating back to the Vikings.
The tart will keep for several days, but I'll be surprised if it lasts that long!
Don't be put off by the stages of the process. They are simple in their way and in essence it's a 3 stage process - sweet pastry, cakey filling, apricots glazed with apricot jam. Once you have made a pate sucrée (sweet pastry) you will want to use it for every sweet tart. Its crisp, sweet and easy to make and is a little more luxurious and elegant than a shortcrust pastry.
So are you ready to wow your guests with a simple luxury? Of course you are! Let's bake...
Apricot Frangipane Tart. Serves 8 people
For the pate sucrée (sweet pastry)
140g / 5 oz plain, all purpose flour
85g / 3 oz butter, cold and cut into cubes
55g / 2 oz white sugar
2 egg yolks
For the filling:
400g /14 oz tin apricot halves
110g / 4 oz butter
110g / 4 oz sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon almond essence
110g / 4 oz plain, all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons apricot jam to finish
To make the pastry put the butter, flour and sugar a food processor and blend together quickly until it looks like sand. Add the egg yolks and blend again until you have a dough. Remove, knead very gently to bring it together, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. This gives the pastry time to rest, but not long enough for it to get hard.
You will need an 8 inch tart tin. A loose bottomed tin is the easiest to use, but any tart tin will work - we don't need to rush out a by anything specific. If the tin is non-stick you dont need to grease it, but if it's ceramic or a vintage tin you will need to grease it lightly with a flavourless oil like sunflower.
Preheat the oven to 170C / 335F
After 30 minutes remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out into a nice circle a bit bigger than your tart tin and line an 8 inch fluted tart tin or whichever tart tin you have chosen to use. Trim the edges and flute them if you like. Make sure you leave a slight lip over the top of the tart tin to allow for some shrinkage of the pastry.
To make the frangipane filling, beat together the the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the almond essence. Gradually add the eggs one at a time until well mixed and then fold in the flour and baking powder. Spread the frangipane filling in the raw pastry case getting right to the edges and making sure its nice and smooth.
Drain the apricots and press them into the frangipane filling in an attractive pattern with the rounded side facing up. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until a delicious golden brown and the filling rebounds slightly if you give it a light press.
Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes and then carefully remove onto a plate. I find it easiest to hold the tin with my hand underneath, gently tap off the ring and then use a palette knife to slide under the tart and ease it onto a plate.
Heat the jam until it's beginning to boil. If it's a jam with bits in it pass it through a sieve. Using a pastry brush, brush the liquid jam all over the top of the tart to give it a beautiful, shiny and professional looking glaze. Allow it to set before serving.
Best served with a generous spoonful of creme fraiche or vanilla ice-cream on the side.
Vær så god!
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