Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fresh Apricot and Cherry Marzipan Tart

With apricots and cherries soon to be in season, I wanted to share this dessert which is perfect all summer long. Not too rich or heavy, yet ripe with the flavors of summer, your guests will find that it is the perfect combination of both tart and sweet.

Julian's Apricot Cherry Tart Ready for Marzipan Topping
So many desserts are just simply sweet, and very sweet. This one provides that great combination which isn't easy to find in desserts. I'm guessing you'll make it over and over again. This is a recipe I got from David Lebovitz, the New Yorker who moved to Paris to cook, eat and write. If you don't follow him, check out the blog and I think you'll be a convert.

Julian's Apricot and Cherry Marzipan Tart
He uses the term “marzipan” because pastries and candies made with almond paste use this term. You may recall that last summer I was in Toledo, Spain where Marzipan was reportedly invented by nuns with both a surplus of eggs and almonds. I brought back several boxes of the delicious confection and can attest to it's wonderful flavor and texture, which is represented nicely in this recipe.

The famous "Mazapan" of Toledo, Spain
This recipe uses almond paste in the topping, which I  list as option in my standard streusel topping for pies and muffins. You'll find almond paste in cans in your baking isle or sometimes in tubes. If your almond paste isn't particularly fragrant, add a few drops of pure almond extract.

You can substitute berries for the cherries if you prefer, or you can simply make an all apricot tart. Remember however that apricots are more tart when cooked, so if not using sweet cherries or berries, increase the sugar by a tablespoon or two. I give David's recipe for the streusel topping, although you can use your own, or my standard recipe which I've posted many times on this blog. If you do not use the below recipe, consider adding the almond paste to your standard streusel recipe.

Ingredients (makes one 9-inch tart), eight servings

For the fruit:
12 ripe apricots
15 cherries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar

One 9-inch pre-baked French tart shell
(See last week's posting for the recipe)


For the marzipan topping:
1/2 cup flour, plus a little more as needed
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup almond paste
1/4 cup sliced almonds (blanched or unblanched)
1-2 drops pure almond extract
4 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Instructions
Pit and halve the apricots and slice them into 1/2-inch slices. Stem and pit the cherries, and halve them. Toss the apricots and cherries in a bowl with the cornstarch and granulated sugar, and spread the fruit into the baked tart shell.

Make the topping by mixing the flour, brown sugar, almond paste, sliced almonds, almond extract, and butter with a pastry knife, until the pieces of almond paste and butter are the size of kernels of corn. If after using the 1/2 cup flour you fin the topping is to wet and sticky, add a little more flour as needed, 1-3 tablespoons. This seems to be dependent on the moisture content of the almond paste.

Sprinkle the marzipan topping over the fruit and bake until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool a bit before serving.

Julian's Cut Fruit Tart
The tart can be served as is, warm or at room temperature. We prefer it with ice cream. The tart will keep for up to three days at room temperature however the crisp topping will soften considerably by the second day, which is fine for leftovers, but it ideally should be served the day it is made.

Delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!


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