Sunday 21 August 2011
For the pastry
250g/8oz plain white flour, plus a little extra to dust
140g/4 oz chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tbsp caster sugar
tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg yolk
A little iced water
For the filling
200g/7oz blanched almonds
200g/7oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
To make the pastry, tip the flour into a food processor and add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Pulse until you have the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and one teaspoon of iced water and pulse again; the pastry should now begin to come together. Add a little more iced water as necessary and continue to pulse until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap in baking parchment or cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface into a large circle approximately 3mm thick. Carefully lift the dough and drape it over a 25cm fluted flan tin. Gently press the pastry into the tin and prick the base with a fork. Return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes. Once chilled, line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the pastry case is golden-brown. Remove and allow to cool.
For the filling, spread the nuts on a baking tray and warm for 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool then grind very coarsely using a pestle and mortar or blender. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl then add the vanilla extract. Next, add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking until just combined, then finally incorporate the ground almonds.
Slice the apricots in half, remove the core and place the halves around the pastry base, bottom-side up. Pour the filling into the case, making sure the apricots are visible through the filling. It is best to use the very ripest apricots as this is when they are at their sweetest. If you cannot find these, roast the apricots with 50g/2oz sugar and a halved vanilla pod for 10 minutes to sweeten them.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is golden-brown and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with a generous dollop of crème fraîche.
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