Apricot & pistachio tart

Apricot & pistachio tart

Sometimes I think my fun-O-meter is broken. Lots of things I’m supposed to think are fun make me anxious, and things that other people dread as chores (making dinner!) are what I live for. For me, tonight was a fun night! Hooooo boy. First of all, we made vegan veggie burgers that were grillable! They got brown on the grill, they didn’t fall apart!! We made them from scratch! We grilled flatbreads, which we made from scratch as well! I’ll tell you about them eventually, with recipes and everything, but for now let me say that I felt so happy about it, and had so much fun doing it that it was just ridiculous. Then we went for an after dinner walk on the towpath (love it!) and we played tag. But not the kind of tag where you have to run all the time, because that wasn’t an option (sooooo full of grilled veggie burgers). The kind of tag where you could hold hands with someone, or give them a hug, giggling maniacally the whole time, and that would pass along the “it”ness. Good times!!

I also think it would be fun to live in Greece and go to lunch with friends in Paris. And that’s the origin of this recipe. My friend Sandy, (who lives in Greece and goes to lunch with friends in Paris) sent me this “non-recipe” for a dessert she had. She described it thus…

…dessert one of those fabulous french tarts (er tartes) – tart dough, then a pate of crushed or somehow pated pastichios – may have had another ingredient in pate, i don’t know. maybe a bit of a liquer or rose water or something. (it was from a pastry shop so i couldn’t ask). and on top apricots. in a sense it was like a tarte with pistachio pate instead of custard under the fruit, but the apricot was not raw – it was baked.

Well! With my obsession with frangipane, and making frangipane out of hazelnuts or other non-almond nuts(which makes it no longer frangipane!) OF COURSE I had to try this!! I made a simple paté sucrée crust, with a hint of cardamom. I made a pistachio frangipane (an imaginary beast!), and then I just sliced very ripe apricots, and sprinkled them with sugar because they’re quite tart! I liked the resulting tart very much indeed, but I have to admit that my boys wouldn’t try it because they don’t like apricots. And the apricots were tart. It was a tart tart. This appealed to me very much! I think it would be nice with some lightly whipped, lightly sweetened whipped cream. The tart won’t last for days in pristine form, because the fruit softens the crust. So eat up!!

Here’s Noah and the Whale with Five Years Time. They’ll have FUN FUN FUN!! This does actually look like fun to me, but it’s also a critical reexamination of past ideas of funness.
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Apricot almond cake w/ apricot-cassis cream

Apricot almond cake

I love the idea of a cake with apricot glaze – I always have. It’s strangely associated with some childhood notion of sophistication in edible form. Strange, because I can’t remember the actual moment that I ate an elegant cake with an apricot glaze. I can remember plenty of battenburg cakes, wrapped in plastic like the block of modeling clay that they resembled. They had a layer of apricot glaze under their oddly chewy marzipan layer. I loved them! But I’m sure I never thought of them as elegant. The truth is, whether sophisticated or not, a layer of apricot makes sense in a cake! It adds a pleasant fruity tartness that offsets the sweetness of whatever else happens to be in the cake. This cake happens to have almonds – a classic match with apricots – and bittersweet chocolate, which adds its own version of bitter-with-sweet, to complement the apricots.

Inexplicably, I became semi-obsessed with making apricot-cassis cream. I thought about a million different things to make, but I kept returning to this. So I turned to my new BFF, the pastry cream, and I added a purée made of apricots and cassis, and then folded in a little lightly whipped cream. I thought it was very nice with the cake – I don’t think I’ve ever had pastry cream or any of its subsidiaries alongside a cake before, but I thought it was a lovely combination of textures. You could easily eat the apricot cream on its own as a mousse, with some crispy cookies!

I just can’t not share this! It’s a song called Apricot, by the Armenian Navy Band, and it has my Malcolm dancing around the room in his pjs.
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