Adventures in tartland (Apricot raspberry marzipan tart)

Hello, friends. We here in twophdsbaking-land apologize for the tardiness of our posts. As you probably know, we also have day jobs, so we tend to bake on the weekends, but these past few weeks/ weekends have been filled with lovely, wonderful things that have taken us away from the kitchen, like baby showers and out-of-town guests. By the end of this month, we’ll have attended 3 baby showers– we just finished 2 of 3. Needless to say, we’ve been spending more time playing baby shower games and eating cupcakes than baking. We are so thrilled for all of our friends and relatives who are expecting– this is a really exciting time for all of them, so we’re happy to have a respite from our oven.

However, that makes for infrequent posting. I have been percolating some ideas about peanut butter cookies, and maybe– just maybe, I will get to some soon. But I digress.

What we make in our test kitchen, we often send out to friends who are willing to eat treats. That usually means we make cookies, but I also enjoy a good cake or tart recipe, and I never get to make them because I have no reason to. Maybe I need to make more friends in our new city so that we can have them over for dinner and then they can eat copious cakes and tarts.

My work had an end-of-school year party at my boss’ house, so I decided I would try a fruit tart recipe, since our grocery stores had suddenly exploded in summer fruit. We also wanted an excuse to buy a tart pan. I love fresh apricots, so I settled on David Lebovitz’s Apricot Marzipan tart, from his book, Ready for Dessert. He said raspberries made for a good add-in, so I added them both for a little tartness and color.

Delightful, right? Yum. 

But first, the crust. It was pretty easy to make– a combination of flour, unblanched almonds, sugar, salt, butter, and egg yolk, all pulsed in a food processor and then pressed into the pan.

Bake that little monster in the oven until it’s golden brown. While it’s baking, you can take care of the fruit. The apricots get pitted and sliced into half-inch wide wedges. Place them in a bowl with the raspberries, and then toss them with a mixture of cornstarch and sugar. The juices from the fruit will immediately combine with the mixture and create a sugary glaze around the fruit.

Once the tart crust is done, let it cool until its room temperature. Then pour in all the fruit. I started to try to arrange the fruit in a pretty spiral, but it’s just not possible, and pointless– there is a marzipan crust that will go over the top of the tart, so no one even sees how painstakingly you’ve arranged the fruit. I tried to make sure that the raspberries were at least evenly distributed throughout.

Seriously, I was ready to just eat it right there. Here’s the rub: the recipe called for 12-14 apricots and a cup of raspberries, so I cut up 13 ripe apricots and put in a cup of raspberries, but that produced way too much fruit filling. It may not be totally obvious in the picture, but the fruit was so high that it created a little mound. I thought that the fruit would cook down in the oven, but in the future, I will definitely cut the amount of fruit by 1/3, or even 1/2. I probably could have filled two tarts with what I had. Stupidly, rather than just taking out half the fruit, I just left it in. I didn’t want to waste it, and I thought that maybe it would cook down.

The tart gets topped off with a marzipan crumb top. That, too, gets pulsed in the food processor. Once I had created the crumb top, my mistake with the fruit was immediately apparent: I couldn’t really sprinkle much of the crumb topping on top.

I tried what I could, but there was at least half of the topping leftover in my bowl. Undaunted, I put that little beast into the oven and baked it until the crumb top was golden brown.

It looked lovely, but the excess moisture from the copious amount of fruit kept the topping from getting really crispy. And, there wasn’t enough accumulation of the marzipan top– its flavor got totally overwhelmed by the fruit.

Not that we didn’t take care of that tart– I brought it to my boss’ house, brought some fresh whipped cream, and everyone ate it like it was their job. I do plan to try again. I will not be vanquished! So now I just need someone’s summer BBQ to bring it to… any takers?

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