This simple apricot tart is anything but rustic. Throwing some apricots and pie dough together may be easy, but a more refined approach can yield a better result. I believe each ingredient should be treated with precision.
This tart is assembled fresh with only lightly sweetened poached apricots and pistachios.
Makes 6-8 small tarts
Makes 4 cups of glaze, a bulk preparation that you can save for future recipes or scale down as needed.
Read how to prepare neutral nappage glaze in advance.
For a more detailed tutorial of this step, see how to prepare pâte brisée dough.
I recommend using a pastry cutter for speed. You want the dough to remain cold during this process.
Do not make the dough too fine; you want some butter clumps remaining. Once the dough is broken into fine granules, transfer to a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment. Turn the speed to medium and add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time until the dough barely comes together. Wait a few seconds before each addition.
Shape into two balls of dough and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Cut a ring out using the pastry rings to make the bottom, then cut a strip for the side. Gently wrap the strip around and use your fingers to seal the inside.
Blind bake the tarts (blind baking means baking without filling) at 375°F (190°C) for 20-25 minutes until the tarts or golden brown. I recommend using a perforated pan when baking to prevent steam from collecting and causing a bubble on the bottom. Alternatively, you can use pie weights. Be sure to use another pan under the perforated pan to catch any butter drippings.
For a more detailed tutorial on preparing this step, see how to prepare pastry cream.
optional 2 tbsp of cognac, rum, or brandy
about 1/2 cup heavy cream for whipping
Heat the milk with the vanilla in a saucepan until just scalded (just under boiling with a few bubbles). Turn off the heat and let the milk steep for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very light and frothy. When you draw the whisk up, the yolks should fall back into the mixture and form ribbons before blending back into the rest (called the "ribbon stage"). Whisk in the flour and corn starch. Whisk in the liquor.
Temper the egg yolks by adding 1/3 of the hot milk into the yolks and whisking. Then whisk in the next 1/3, then the last 1/3. Return the milk and yolks to the saucepan and turn up to medium heat.
Let the pastry cream cool. Meanwhile, whisk the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold the cream into the cooled pastry cream.
Only poach the apricots until just softened. Do not let them get mushy. Set these aside to cool.
The inner glaze will prevent the tart crusts from absorbing moisture from the cream. You want the crusts to remain dry and crisp. If you are not using glaze, you can brush with egg whites instead.
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