Apricot Tart with Pistachio-Almond Frangipane

When I recently saw some beautiful organic apricots at the market, I decided I had to bake an apricot dessert. I have made several wonderful apricot tarts in the past (like this one and this one) and decided I would go the tart route again. Namely, I decided to try a recipe for an Apricot Tart with Pistachio-Almond Frangipane.

You make the crust in the food processor from flour, sugar, salt, chilled butter, whipping cream, and an egg yolk. You are supposed to press it into a pan, but I rolled it out between two sheets of parchment before lining the pan, docking the dough, chilling the crust, and parbaking it. There is no instruction to weigh down the crust during baking, and the dough rose and became quite puffy in the oven, to the point where it looked like I had made a giant cookie in a tart pan, instead of a tart shell with clearly defined sides. I used a tart tamper to flatten the bottom crust while it was still warm and it looked much better.

After cooling the crust slightly, I filled it with a pistachio-almond cream made by grinding pistachios and almonds with sugar in the food processor, and then adding chilled butter, an egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. I tasted the frangipane plain and it was incredibly delicious. After arranging apricot halves on top of the filling, I put the tart in the oven to bake.
I baked this tart in the evening, and after I pulled it out of the oven, I left it on a cooling rack on the counter and went to bed. The tart looked beautiful when it was freshly baked -- the round apricot halves were plump and very pretty. The following morning, the apricots had shriveled and the tart looked pretty bleak. I brushed on a glaze of thinned apricot jam and sprinkled on some crushed pistachios, which helped hide the ugly fruit underneath.

When I cut the tart, I noticed immediately that the crust was very soft. The recipe instructions say that the tart can be prepared eight hours ahead and left at room temperature. A little more than eight hours had elapsed by the time I cut and served the tart, so I don't know if the tart was soggy because I had made it so far in advance, or if i could have avoided the problem if I had served the tart earlier. But in any case, it was so soggy that it was pretty much ruined. The mushy crust was so distracting that I couldn't even appreciate the apricots and the frangipane.

Because this recipe has received so many positive reviews on epicurious, I have to believe that it's great when made properly. My tart might have been a total fail, but I see the potential in this recipe, especially because of the fantastic pistachio-almond frangipane. I hope to give it another try some time.

Recipe: "Apricot Tart with Pistachio-Almond Frangipane" from epicurious.com.

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