Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sunday 3 - Olympic dessert ...

... by Lucas Hollweg.

Apricot and mascarpone tart

A variation on the classic French tart, this is best eaten just warm or at room temperature. You can use ready-made sweet pastry, though it never has quite the crumb and richness of home-made.

Serves 6-8
For the pastry
200g plain flour
A good pinch of salt
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¼ tsp natural vanilla extract
1 medium egg
50g icing sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
For the filling
250g caster sugar
400g apricots, halved and stoned (remove any particularly stringy bits from the stone cavity)
150g mascarpone
1 medium egg
50g ground almonds
1 tbsp flaked almonds
First make the pastry. In a food processor, using the metal blade, whiz together the flour and salt until well combined. Add the butter and quickly blitz until the mixture forms breadcrumbs. Mix together the vanilla extract, egg, icing sugar and 1 tsp water, add to the flour mixture and pulse in until everything starts to clump together in clods. Stop before it forms a big clod around the spindle. Form into a ball, wrap in cling-film and chill in the fridge for at least 1½ hours.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the pastry to a circle 3mm thick. Turn the pastry 90 degrees after each roll to stop it sticking and to achieve an even thickness. Reflour the surface and rolling pin if necessary. You want to end up with a circle large enough to fit the base and sides of a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin, with extra pastry overhanging the edges. Drape the pastry into the tin and trim so there’s a 2cm overhang. Put in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put 200g of the sugar in a saucepan with 200ml water. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then add the apricots and simmer for 4 minutes until just softened. Don’t overdo it or they will disintegrate. Remove with a slotted spoon and put to one side.

Put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 190C/Gas Mark 5. The heated sheet will help to  cook the bottom of the tart. Line the base and sides of the pastry with a circle of baking parchment and fill the middle with ceramic baking beans, if you have them, or uncooked pasta shapes or rice. Put the tart tin in the oven on the hot baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until the sides have set.

Remove the paper and beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Trim the pastry around the rim with a sharp serrated knife (eat the trimmings), then leave the case to cool for a few minute.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the mascarpone and egg until smooth, then mix in the ground almonds and the remaining sugar. Pour into the tart case and smooth out so it covers the bottom. Quickly press the apricot halves into the mascarpone mixture, so they poke through like orange moons. Scatter the top with flaked almonds.

Turn the oven down oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the middle is puffed and tinged with brown, then remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 20 minutes. Take the tart from the tart tin and eat in generous slices with a dollop of thick cream or crème fraîche. 

 ... enjoy like we enjoyed Super Saturday at the Olympics with Team GB.

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