Thursday, 19 May 2011

Austrian Apricot and Almond Tart

Recipe Number Thirty Eight:  Page 273.

I have been eyeing up this recipe for a couple of weeks now; the combination of marzipan and apricots encased in a sweet pastry sounded delicious. I realise that marzipan has featured rather heavily over the last few weeks, but I love it and could no longer resist making it.

When looking through this recipe, I felt confident that it was fairly simple and shouldn’t take long to make. The first task was to make the pastry. I measured out the flour and icing sugar and then opened a packet of butter. With all this butter I am consuming, I feel certain it is starting to make my hips expand. My trousers feel a little tighter than they did last week. So, with this in mind, I left my packet of butter on one end of my long kitchen worktop and the weighing scales on the other. When I needed more butter, I had to work for it! I am pretty sure that, with all the trekking back and forth, I must have burnt off the equivalent of eating a large slice of this tart. As the butter had to be chilled for this pastry, it took ages to rub it into the flour and icing sugar; my fingers were close to getting cramp. When I had finally achieved ‘breadcrumbs', I could stir in the beaten egg and work it into a soft dough. Again, this seemed to take an eternity. The resulting dough was very soft and a bit sticky; it glued itself to my fingers! I put the dough into a plastic bag and popped it into the fridge so that it could chill for half an hour.

After the half hour was up, I had to roll out just over half of the pastry. I started off OK, but I had to roll it very thin to make my circle large enough. As the flan tin was ten inches, I needed my circle to measure twelve inches (to cover base and sides) – easier said than done. When I went to peel the pastry from the worktop, lots of holes appeared. It took several attempts and a lot of patching of holes until I was happy with it. I trudged over to the weighing scales to measure out the marzipan. I located my grater and grated the marzipan into the pastry case. I had never thought about grating marzipan before and what a sticky experience it proved to be! I opened my cans of apricot halves and laid the halves out on some kitchen towel and placed another piece on top to mop up the juice. The apricots ended up on top of the marzipan layer. The tart started to look very appetising. I retrieved the rest of the pastry from the fridge and rolled it out so that it was large enough to cover the top of the tart. Again, I had the same problems with the pastry – it was so fiddly to work with. It didn’t look that great, but I was so fed up patching up an ever increasing number of holes that I didn’t really care anymore! Into the oven it went. I sat down to steady my nerves!

After thirty-five minutes I checked on my tart. I was feeling a lot calmer until I saw that the tart was still looking anaemic. Mary Berry warns to keep an eye on the pastry as it burns easily. Well, I certainly did not have that problem. I gave it another ten minutes and even turned the oven up a bit and still it would not brown. I decided it didn’t matter if it wasn’t golden brown; it looked cooked and we wanted to try it! Neil and I had a warm slice each and the first thing we both noticed and mentioned was that the marzipan was overpowering. We couldn’t taste the apricots at all, which was a real shame. The pastry was light and crisp and I was surprised that my patching job had worked as there were no leaks. Hooray!

It was a pleasant enough tart, but you have to LOVE marzipan. It took a while to make, due to the flimsy pastry, so I would need to set aside more time to make it so that I do not get fraught!


My anaemic tart!

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