Fruits Are Not All Fungible: Nigel Slater's Cherry (or Apricot) Pistachio Tart

I rarely deviate from a recipe, especially the first time I try it. I can't help it; I'm a Type A person and a lawyer to boot. I'm really good at following directions, which I credit as the primary reason I'm a technically proficient baker. (In part, I think I inherited my compulsion to follow directions from my father. Whenever he buys anything that comes with printed instructions -- even a car -- he reads the instruction booklet from cover to cover and underlines the important parts. It's one of my dad's adorable qualities, like the way he carefully reviews the TV schedule published in the LA Times sports section every day and methodically marks all of the events he intends to watch.)

Anyway, when I saw Nigel Slater's recipe for a Cherry Pistachio Tart, I made an uncharacteristic decision to try it with apricots instead of cherries. Not because I don't like cherries or because cherries weren't available -- but because I was still bummed about my two failed attempts to make Apricot and Pistachio Frangipane Blondies and I was determined to make the apricot-pistachio flavor combination work one way or another. Slater's tart has a pastry crust topped with cherry jam, fresh cherries, and pistachio frangipane. I figured that swapping out apricot jam and fresh apricots for their cherry counterparts would work out just fine.

To make the crust, you process flour, cold butter, egg yolk, and water in a food processor. You form the dough into a disk that you wrap in plastic and chill before rolling. After you roll out the crust and fit it into a tart pan, you blind bake the crust. You spread fruit jam on the crust, arrange fresh fruit on top, and spoon over pistachio frangipane that is a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground pistachios, and ground almonds. Finally, you scatter the top of the tart with sliced almonds and bake it until set.
I didn't have any trouble releasing the tart from the tin with the crust intact. I thought the frangipane was wonderful -- rich and dense with a lovely pistachio flavor. And while pistachio with apricot is a great combination, I thought that the proportions of jam and fruit in this tart were not quite right. There wasn't enough apricot. It occurred to me while I was eating a piece that cherries would be a much better choice for this tart, because they are more intensely flavored. While I can't point to anything wrong with this tart from a technical standpoint, I do regret making an apricot version of it -- only because I'm confident that the original cherry version would be much better. I want to taste the tart the way Nigel Slater intended!

Recipe: "Cherry Pistachio Tart" (made with apricots instead) by Nigel Slater, published in The Guardian.