Jumping the Gun on Summer: Apricot-Marzipan Tart

My friend Dorothy invited me and Tom to have dinner at her parents' house on Saturday night, and she accepted my offer to bring a dessert. I've been impatiently waiting for summer (and more importantly, summer fruits!) to arrive, and I had a hankering to make a fruit tart. I flipped through my newest cookbook, Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes, by David Lebovitz, and I decided to try a recipe for an Apricot-Marzipan Tart. As Lebovitz explains in the introductory text, the recipe title is a misnomer, because the tart actually calls for almond paste (more almonds than sugar) and not marzipan (more sugar than almonds). This tart has an almond crust (flour, almonds, sugar, salt, chilled butter and an egg yolk) that is pressed into a tart pan, chilled, and blind baked. You fill the baked crust with sliced apricots tossed with sugar and cornstarch, sprinkle the fruit with a crumble topping (flour, brown sugar, almond paste, almonds, and butter), and bake the tart until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling.

I had all of the ingredients on hand to make this tart except the fruit. I didn't have time to stop by Whole Foods until Saturday afternoon, and of course, the only apricots I could find at the store were completely unripe. When I got them home and tried one, it was horrible. Sharply sour and completely inedible. Fortunately, you can often get away with using unripe fruit in baked goods. I added some extra sugar in with the fruit and kept my fingers crossed.

I went to the trouble of arranging my apricot slices in beautiful overlapping concentric circles in the tart crust. It was a complete waste of effort because the recipe produces so much crumble that it completely covered up all of the fruit. The crumble browned beautifully in the oven, but the edges of the crust got a little too dark. In the future, I would probably shield the edges of the crust with some aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.

I was afraid that the fruit might have made the bottom crust a little soggy, but I was delighted after I served it and discovered that the tart had retained a very crispy texture -- both in the crust and the crumble topping. As it turned out, I really liked the fact that the tart was not too sweet (so the under-ripe fruit didn't seem to hurt at all), and the almond flavor was lovely and really delicious. The tart was a very tasty and interesting combination of flavors and textures and I can't wait to make it again. Lebovitz also suggests making the tart with plums instead of apricots, and I think I will definitely have to try that variation. I cannot wait for summer fruits to get here!

Recipe: "Apricot-Marzipan Tart" from Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes, by David Lebovitz.


Suelle said…
Almond paste in a crumble topping sounds inspired - I can imagine it with lots of different fruits. I'll have to search for the recipe!
Louise said…
That looks delicious. Our Farmers' Market has had excellent apricots from Mexico or somewhere for the last several weeks. This looks like a great destination for the apricots.