When Juicy Fruit Should Get the Boot: Verlet's Apricot Tart

I have never enjoyed eating apricots out of hand because I find them too tart, but I do love using fresh apricots in baked goods. With apricot season in full swing, I decided to make Verlet's Apricot Tart and I purchased an apricot-plum hybrid (not sure of the exact variety) that was about the same size as a regular apricot, but with skin that was yellow-orange.

I really like the crust recipe for this tart, because it is quick and easy -- no chilling, no rolling, no waiting. You simply stir together melted butter, sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt to form a soft dough. You press it into a buttered tart pan and blind bake it immediately, without any pie weights. After sprinkling some ground almonds over the parbaked crust, you pour on the filling mixture, which is made of crème fraîche, egg, almond extract, vanilla extract, honey, and Wondra flour. Finally, you arrange the cut fruit on top and bake.

I regretted my choice of fruit as soon as I cut the pluots/apriums/whatever they were. They had pale yellow flesh and were definitely more like plums than apricots -- very juicy and clingstone, which meant I made a huge mess as I tried to pit the fruit and cut it into slices. Nonetheless, I forged ahead and baked the tart. To my relief it turned out fine, although the fruit leaked a lot of juice into the filling, creating an unattractive curdled appearance. Remarkably, the crust was not soggy in the slightest.

Not fully satisfied with the result, I made the tart again with regular apricots a few days later, and it turned out much better. The fruit didn't give off any juice in the oven and so the filling layer was nice and intact. My second tart with the regular apricots is pictured below.

This tart is wonderful. What I loved most was the strong almond flavor in both the crust and the filling. Of course the almond complements the apricots perfectly, but since I am such a fan of almond, the almond component was particularly appealing. Even though the filling didn't contain any nuts (just almond extract), it was a lot like frangipane. And the crisp crust was wonderfully buttery and cookie-like. My apricots were a bit on the large side and I wish that I had cut them into quarters so that I could have arranged the fruit on top with a bit more finesse, but I still thought the tart was attractive enough. I would absolutely make this tart again!

Recipe: "Verlet's Apricot Tart" from The Food Lover's Guide to Paris by Patricia Wells, recipe available here on epicurious.com.


Suelle said…
This sounds delicious, and I like the idea of a pastry dough which doesn't need resting or rolling. I will be trying that soon!
Louise said…
This tart looks wonderful and opened my eyes. I have "The Food Lover's Guide to Paris", 2nd edition 1988, with my travel books -- probably bought it before my first trip to Paris 25 years ago. I never realized there are recipes but have other Patricia Wells cookbooks. : ( The recipe in my book is quite different from the Epicurious one from the 4th edition. For example, the pastry had no almond or vanilla extracts, no sea salt, 3/4 cup more all-purpose flour (it specified not unbleached), and no finely ground unblanched almonds. It was prepared the same way. I'll have to try this recipe very soon.
@Suelle -- the crust really is fantastic... even without weights, it doesn't even shrink! @Louise -- glad that you have rediscovered this recipe! I'm glad the almond extract in the crust was added to the recipe at some point, because I think it adds something really special!