What do you do on your afternoons off? I challenge you to find a better use for your time than this:
This is, of course, a food blog. So, ignoring the glorious scene before us, lets get down to business. This is the view from grandma’s kitchen. And grandma’s kitchen is where the magic happens. When I someday write the biography of my grandmother, I will surely devote at least a chapter to her incredible culinary skills. In preparation for the chapter, I spend every possible moment I can savoring her skill – and learning where I can.
So, on my afternoon off, I ran over there and we collaborated. She provided the vista, and I provided…
Apricots. Is there a more joyful fruit than this? You simply cannot have a bad day (or make a bad dish) using apricots. Their color is infectious, and their taste… Sigh.
Apricot Custard Tart: (makes two 9 inch pies, or several small tartlets)
Her Crust: (To my utter shame, this is a Pâte Brisée recipe I shamelessly stole from Martha Stewart)
1 stick of butter, cold
2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 C. ice Water
4 egg yolks
Scant 1/4 C. sugar
2 C. whole milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 C. Apricots – about a dozen of my extremely small ones, or perhaps six medium sized
1 C. Water
2/3 C. Sugar
1. Mix sugar and salt into flour. Cut the butter into the mixture until crumbly. Pour in ice water and mix, adding more if necessary. Roll the dough out thin – approximately a quarter of an inch of thickness will do. Line tart pans/pie pans.
2. Beat together egg yolks and sugar to form a paste. Slowly add milk. When smooth, stir in extracts and spices to taste. Fill pans.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees and cook until just wobbly. At this stage you should be able to insert a knife and have it come out clean. Because this recipe is meant for tart pans, there should be a very thin layer of custard, and it will cook quickly. I would gage for approximately 15-20 minutes.
4. In the mean time, halve and pit the apricots. Heat the water and sugar until just boiling, add the apricot halves, and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender but not falling apart.
5. Remove the tarts from the oven and allow to cool slightly before adding apricot halves. Allow the tarts to cool the rest of the way before enjoying.