This classic French tart of crisp golden puff pastry, tender fruit and sticky caramel is guaranteed to be a hit when brought to the table.
2 x 415 gram tins apricot halves, drained
½ cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 whole blanched almonds
500 gram block butter puff pastry, thawed
24 cm x 3-4 cm deep fixed-base cake tin
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Place the apricots on paper towels and gently pat to remove excess moisture.
Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil until the syrup turns a good golden colour. To prevent the syrup crystallizing, brush the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water to remove any sugar granules. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Pour the caramel into the base of the dish and tilt so it covers the base evenly. Push the almonds into the caramel then set aside to cool. Arrange the apricots, cut side up, over the top, packing them closely together.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured bench until ½ cm thick and cut out a 26 cm circle.
Place over the apricots, tucking the edges firmly down the sides of the dish and slightly under the fruit.
Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is well cooked, puffed and golden and the caramel is bubbling up around the edges. Leave for 3 minutes then place a lipped plate over the top of the dish. Holding the plate and tin with a tea towel, flip over and remove the tin. Place any fruit or almonds that remain in the bottom of the tin back onto the tart. Serve immediately with mascarpone.
Cook’s tips: When turning the tart out of the tin, be very careful as the caramel is extremely hot and can give a nasty burn.
The tart can also be made in a shallow cast iron sauté pan or copper pan.