Apricot tart with almond and hazelnut crust
It has been hard, and actually quite emotional, deciding what recipe to do for our finale column, we listed many but kept coming back to a beautiful seasonal tart – it seemed appropriate. When we started this business, seven years ago, catering for big shoots, we were coined the nickname the ‘kitchen tarts’ and it stuck. We thought we should close this chapter by honouring the place it began. We chose a tart, not just because it was a nickname bestowed upon us, but because tarts encompass so much of what we love about cooking and eating. The hypnotic pleasure of baking and the smells it produces, to the end result of a mouth-watering- glistening presentation and something that can be shared and enjoyed at the end. Tarts are an ideal classic desert at this time of year, they are light and surprisingly simple, filled to the brim with brightly coloured summer fruits- either fresh juicy berries or slow roasted-sticky, caramelised stone fruits. This recipe is an adaptation of one we love using- The crust is one that we have been doing for years. We came up with it when returning late from photoshoots and having to whip up dessert for a job the next day – this we could make in minutes. It’s a crunchy, nutty base that can take on a wide range of fillings. A very fun version is to paint, with melted hot chocolate, and a pastry brush the inside of the tart and let it dry, spooning on a rich whipped mascarpone and lemons curd and then generously scattering raspberries over the top. A juicy ripe, honey sweet apricot is a rare and exciting find, its sun blushed cheeks flushing with pleasure, such an apricot is available in abundance overseas under the hazy sun of Italy, France and Spain. For us we mostly come across a hard, slightly fluffy apricot that’s been picked too early. You can however usually pick up a deliciously scented apricot in good green grocers, markets and Natoora has peach perfect ones. If you are unlucky with your find and receive a hard little nugget then place it in a bowl in the sun and it will come to life in a couple of days. Another way to save it is to roast or stew it with a little sweetener, we like to use brown sugar or honey. You can substitute the apricot in this recipe for peach, nectarine or fig and as we move forward into autumn plum or greengage, for the autumnal fruits add a little spice into the honey glaze, such as cinnamon or cardamom. This is a delightful tart to finish a summer feast, sitting out in a balmy evening sipping on a chilled buttery white wine– this for us is perfection.