Apricot Compote Tarte Fine

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Preparation info

  • For

    8

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

Dried apricots are never really that dry when you buy them in plastic packets and do not require lengthy rehydration. However, you do need to make the soaking liquid quite sweet or risk the natural sugars in the fruit being leached out.

This is one of those rare occasions when it is suggested you make your puff pastry. In fact a more accurate description is flaky, for it is butter-rich, light and crisp. It also rises nicely, if not quite as spectacularly as classic puff. It takes time — mainly because of the need to refrigerate between rollings - and a bit of effort, but the result justifies both. If pressed for time, though, do not hesitate to use ready-made.

Ingredients

  • 115 g/4 oz caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp jasmine tea
  • 450 g/1 lb apricots
  • 1 glass (150 ml/¼ pt) sweet white wine
  • yolk of 1 egg
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • crème fraîche, (double) cream, clotted cream or vanilla ice-cream, to serve

    For the Rough Puff Pastry

  • 225 g/8 oz unsalted butter, chilled, plus more for greasing
  • 450 g/1 lb plain flour, plus more for dusting
  • pinch of salt

Method

Preparation

The day before: make 1.1 litres/2 pt of sweet jasmine tea by putting the sugar and tea in a jug and pouring over boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar, leave to stand for 5 minutes and then pour through a sieve over the apricots in a bowl. Leave to soak for a minimum of 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Add the sweet white wine to the soaking apricots, put in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve and leave the apricots to cool.

Transfer 140 g/5 oz of the butter from the refrigerator to the freezer and chill for 20 minutes. Then dice.

Sift the flour into a food processor. Add the butter dice and the pinch of salt and whizz briefly to a crumb texture. With the motor running, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water through the feeder tube until the pastry balls. It is important to use the minimum amount of water. Clingwrap and put to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a floured surface and roll out into a rectangular strip roughly 2½ times longer than its width.

Cut the remaining butter into small dice and dot two-thirds of the rectangle, leaving a 2.5 cm/1 in strip clear around the edge with half of it. Fold one end to the middle and then the other end over that. Roll out to the same shape, fold as before, cling-wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Transfer to a floured surface and repeat the whole rolling, dotting and folding process, this time starting the rolling at right angles to the previous direction. If the butter starts to come through the surface, sprinkle with flour. Fold, wrap and refrigerate overnight.

About 40 minutes before you plan to serve: preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6. Lightly butter a non-stick Swiss roll tin. Roll the pastry to a rectangle about 1.5 cm/½ in thick and lay it in the tin.

Arrange the apricots down the centre, slightly overlapping and leaving a border of 2.5 cm/1 in. Brush the pastry border with beaten egg yolk and dust the apricots with cinnamon.

Cooking

Bake the tart for 20 minutes. In good time, melt the jam and brush the apricots with this as soon as the tart comes from the oven.

Serving

Serve warm with crème fraiche, double cream or vanilla ice-cream. If you can get hold of clotted cream then this is arguably the nicest of all accompaniments.

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