"Apricots and frangipane filling in a crisp pastry case give a smart, delicate tart. When filling the pastry case, it’s best to add the apricots at the last possible moment so that the juices don’t make the base wet. If time is short, you could use a 500g pack of shop-bought short-crust pastry," says Mary Berry.
Fully made and cooked, the tart can be kept in the fridge, covered in foil, for 1 day and reheated in a low oven to serve.
The tart can be frozen – defrost at room temperature before serving. The pastry also freezes well, as a block or ready-rolled and lining the tart case, depending on how much space you have in your freezer.
FOR THE PASTRY
175g (6oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g (3oz) cold butter, cubed
25g (1oz) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
FOR THE FILLING
75g (3oz) butter, softened
75g (3oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
75g (3oz) ground almonds, plus extra for sprinkling (optional – see tip below)
½ tsp almond extract
2 x 400g tins of apricot halves in natural juice, drained (reserving the juice), sliced and dried (see tip below)
FOR THE TOPPING
About 125g (4½oz) icing sugar, sifted
1–2 tbsp apricot juice from the tin
1. You will need a 28cm (11in) round, loose-bottomed fluted tart tin, 3–4cm (1¼–1½in) deep. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/ Gas 5, and slip a heavy baking sheet inside to heat up.
2. First make the pastry, either by mixing the flour and butter in a food processor or by hand – rubbing the flour and butter together with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix in briefly, then add the egg and ½–1 tablespoon of water. Mix until the dough just holds together.
3. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface as thinly as possible, 1–2mm (I⁄IGin) thick (see tip on page 291), and use to line the tin, making a small lip around the top. Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork.
4. Next make the frangipane filling. Place the butter and sugar in the food processor (no need to wash this out first) and whizz until creamy, blend in the eggs, then mix in the ground almonds and almond extract. Alternatively, beat together with a wooden spoon if making by hand.
5. Arrange the apricot slices over the base of the pastry and spoon the frangipane mixture on top, spreading it evenly to cover the apricots.
6. Sit the tart tin on the hot baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the tart is golden brown.
7. To finish, make a glacé icing by mixing together the icing sugar and apricot juice, adding enough juice to give a pouring consistency and for the icing to hold its shape. Using a spoon, zigzag the icing over the tart and leave to set.
8. Remove the tart from the tin (see tip below) and transfer to a serving plate. Serve warm or cold.
Sprinkling extra ground almonds on the cooked pastry base before adding the apricots helps to absorb extra moisture.
The apricots need to be as dry as possible to prevent the juice soaking into the pastry. Dry each one individually with kitchen paper.
An easy way of removing the tart from the tin is to stand the tart tin on one or two tins or jars; the ring around the tart can then be lowered to your work surface, leaving the tart on the base of the tin. Slide the tart off the base on to a serving plate.
Extracted from Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites by Mary Berry (BBC Books, hardback £25)
Photography by Georgia Glynn Smith