Again with the summer fruits. I can't help myself...this time though, we're talking apricots. Take a step outside your comfort zone, the zone where apricots are shriveled up little gnome-like fruits that hang out in bags of only sort of delicious trail mix.
These apricots were for real. Which is why I made them into a tart. Because that's how they roll. Another recipe from the Zuni Cookbook, before I am forced to return it to the library (actually, as of this post, it is late). I love how Judy Rodgers writes these recipes as if she was in your kitchen with you, explaining this to you. The details are so specific! At one point she describes the consistency of the dough as "humid grape-nuts", which seems weird but you know exactly what she means when you see it! I can't really do it justice in my descriptions, you must buy or borrow the book to get the true experience. In the meantime, I will do my best to explain. Here goes.
Apricot Tart from Zuni Cafe
Basic Tart Dough "with a little flake"
1 c all purpose flour
8 tbsp cold salted butter (1 stick)
Up to 2 tsp sugar (optional)
Fruit Filling1 lb firm-ripe apricots
1/3 c sugar
2 or 3 pinches of salt
First, prepare the dough as you will want to freeze it before using it. On a cool work surface or wide bowl, mix flour and sugar.
Cut the stick of butter lengthwise into about 1/4 in slices. Coat each slice with flour on both sides and squish each piece with your fingers til the slices become little shards. Now fold the sheets and shards of butter into the flour, squishing them together and breaking them into shards repeatedly. Do this until you have about 2/3 crumbs and 1/3 flakes of butter in your mixture.
Now trickle 1 tbsp of ice water evenly over this clump of strangely textured dough. Stir it all together and work it with your fingertips. Here is where you should see the "moist sawdust begin to look like humid Grape-Nuts". Mass the dough and knead it a bit. At this point, add a few more drops of water if your dough feels really dry- it will prob be sticky, so flour up those fingers. Now, on a lightly floured surface, knead this all into a smooth ball. Put the ball between sheets of plastic wrap and press into a disk about 1 in thick and smooth the surface with a rolling pin. Wrap up that dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the Gluten relax. The Gluten had a hard day at the office, so it really needs some quiet fridge time, preferably with a Scotch.
When the Gluten is done being a lazy SOB, roll it out and place it into a 9 1/2 in tart shell pan. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze before filling and baking. You can do this a day or two ahead of time, but make sure its wrapped well, to prevent freezer burn. You don't want a tart crust that tastes like frozen Brussels sprouts (or DO you...?!).
OK NOW! Time for the fruit.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut your 'cots in half, remove the pits and quarter them. Toss them with sugar and salt to taste, in a large bowl. You will want this much sugar, since cooking will bring out the acidity and tannins in the skins of the apricots. Place the fruit in neat circles in the crust, skin side down. The fruits are friends, so they should touch but don't stack or crowd them. Haven't you ever heard of PERSONAL SPACE?! Scrape the sugar sludge from the bowl over the tart.
Bake tart until crust is golden brown and the fruit is soft and has begun to caramelize. This is usually about 50 min, but it took a bit longer for me. If at any point the crust looks burny but the fruit needs more time, quickly take the tart out and protect the crust with strips of aluminum foil. Just tear some off and gently press it over the rim, without breaking any of it.
While the description may be a bit long, this is a SUPER EASY TART!!! It really only has a handful or so of ingredients. I enjoyed it for dessert and then AGAIN for breakfast! It did not last long in my home, sadly.