The perfect alternative to a predictable lemon tart, this wonderful pudding – created by food writer and broadcaster Rosie Birkett – is sure to become a favourite for long summer lunches
The pastry for this tart is almost like a hazelnut biscuit; it’s so crumbly and buttery against the soft, honeyed flesh of poached apricots. If you don’t have skin-on hazelnuts you can use skin-on almonds instead, but the flavour of hazelnuts with the apricots is just divine. The perky buttermilk custard is sharp and creamy all at once, with a hint of molasses from the muscovado sugar, and a seductive wobble. I love garnishing this tart with lavender flowers, whose fragrance, combined with the apricots and sweet cream, brings to mind soporific summers in Provence or Sicily.
IMAGE: HELEN CATHCART
Apricot, Buttermilk and Hazelnut Tart
- 2 egg yolks
- 75 ml buttermilk
- 150 ml double cream
- pinch of salt
- grated zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
- 140 g light muscovado sugar
- 6 poached apricots, halved and stoned (in Rosie’s book, refer to her recipe for Rosé and Lavender Poached Apricots on page 238)
- handful of whole skin-on almonds, thickly sliced
- lavender flowers, to decorate
- crème fraîche, to serve
For the pastry
- 50 g skin-on hazelnuts
- 200 g plain flour
- 125 g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp iced water
- First, make the pastry. Put the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blitz toa coarse crumb. Add the flour, butter, egg yolk, salt and sugar and blitz again, to breadcrumb consistency. Add the iced water, a tablespoon at a time, sprinkling it scross the crumb and blitzing between additions until the dough clumps together. Tip the dough out into a bowl and squish it into a ball, adding a dash more water if it needs it, or a dusting of flour if it’s a little sticky. Mould it into a ball and flatten to a disc. Wrap it in greaseproof paper (rather than cling film, which makes it sweat) and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the filling, whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, double cream, salt, lemon zest and muscovado sugar together in a bowl to make a smooth custard. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, unwrap it (leaving it sitting on the greasproof paper) and place another piece of paper on top. Roll it out between the sheets of paper to the thickness of a pound coin (large enough to line a 23cm tart tin). Line the tart tin with the pastry, letting it overhang to allow for shrinkage, and put the lined tin in the fridge until the pastry is firm. Prick the base with a fork, line the pastry with the crumpled greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Blind-bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then lift out the beans and paper and return it to the oven for a further 5–8 minutes, until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and turn it down to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 4.
- Allow the pastry shell to cool for a couple of minutes then fill it with the custard. Place the apricot halves cut side down in the custard and scatter over the almonds. Bake the tart in the oven for 45 minutes, until the custard is puffed and golden. Carefully remove it from the oven – it will still be quite wobbly but don’t panic, it will set once cooled. Allow it to cool then place in the fridge to set for an hour or so. Remove it from the fridge a good hour before you want to serve it so it’s at room temperature. Garnish with lavender and serve with crème fraîche.
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