#19 : Another Apricot Tart
Baked for a crowd
Jeff was repeating his piano recital, this time at the Riverhead First Congregational Church. Our friend Dee offered to host a "post-reception reception" at her house; just a small gathering of friends who had attended the concert. Any get-together is a good excuse for me to bake a pie these days. Dee is not a rhubarb fan and can't eat strawberries, so the seasonal strawberry-rhubarb idea was out (keep watching this blog, though, as I still have "too much rhubarb" in the fridge, according to Jeff) and when I came across another apricot tart recipe, this time with just apricots as the fruit along with some pastry cream, I wanted to try it. Pastry cream is a fantastic addition to any pie! Also the tart is larger (baked in an 11 inch tart pan rather than the usual 9 inch pan) making it ideal for a crowd.
It's still "apricot season" though I have not yet been able to find any local apricots (might be a bit early for those) so I'm making do with what I find at the Southold IGA. That fruit is not the ripest and I pick through it, finding the ripest possible.
This recipe is from the library cookbook Huckleberry, named after the Huckleberry Bakery and Café based in Santa Monica, CA. I had never heard of it, but I have been doing library searches for "PIE" and have been slowly working my way through every pie book in the library system (along with other books that catch my interest such as The Gallery of Regrettable Food - who could resist such a title? Not me, though I doubt I'll be using any of those recipes.) What was interesting about this recipe is that you spread out the pastry cream in the pie shell and bake the apricots on top of that, a somewhat unusual approach.
The tricky part seemed to be baking the pastry cream fully without overbaking the apricots or the pie crust. I think I managed pretty well.
Rather than my usual pie dough, this recipe calls for a sweeter dough that is almost more cookie than pie dough. Since apricots are naturally tart (and for once, I had no pie dough in the fridge) I made the book's recipe for flaky pie dough which includes baking powder.
Once the pie dough was rolled out and stuck in the freezer for an hour, I turned to the pastry cream, which was delicious (note to self: make pastry cream more often!). After blind-baking the dough, I filled it with the pastry cream (the recipe makes a generous amount, enough for the larger tart pan), topped with with halved and pitted apricots that had been tossed in granulated and brown sugars, some salt to bring out the flavors, and melted butter, along with my own addition of (why not?) kirsch.
If you're not using the pastry cream right away, you can chill it in the refrigerator.
Since the tart would be sitting for a while, we brought it into the church kitchen rather than having it bake in the hot car during the recital.
Jeff's recital was very successful, with his usual brilliant playing. The audience enjoyed the music and his amusing introductions. I was so distracted thinking about the tart that I accidentally left the flowers given to Jeff at the church, so we had to return the next day to rescue them. They're now in a hanging basket out on the deck, where we enjoy them during our al fresco dinners.
"Yes," (I can hear you saying)..."we know Jeff is an amazing musician so that's no surprise. What we really want to know is....how was the tart?"
The Verdict: Another Success
I thought this recipe was a winner, and judging from the small remaining slice we brought home with us, I was not alone in this opinion. The reception was delightful, with great friends, good wine and amazing food...what more could you ask for?
(By the way, Jeff has already starting rehearsing music for his next concert.)