I’m so pleased with how this turned out. It was everything that I hoped it would be. I’m sure that fellow food bloggers can appreciate how exciting it is when a recipe works first time!
The crust was rich, buttery and crisp and the filling was moist and light with a lovely subtle bourbon flavour amongst the almonds and sweet apricots.
Adding booze makes a world of difference to my pastry, which I will happily admit can sometimes be a bit on the heavy side. If you’ve seen my brandy apple pie or my delicious gin and lemon tart then you’ll already know why the alcohol makes it so much better. But just in case you’re new around here, here comes the science part. Because the alcohol will burn off and evaporate at a faster rate than the moisture from the butter in the pastry you’ll get a lighter, flakier crust. Clever huh?!
200g plain flour
100g cold butter
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
25ml bourbon ( I used Michters)
80g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp almond extract
6-8 apricots (halved and pitted)
Kick things off by making the bourbon pastry. You can either make this by hand or use a food processor (which makes it super-quick). Sift together the flour, cornflour and icing sugar and then rub in the butter (or blitz it in the food processor). Lightly beat the egg yolk (keep the white for later) with the bourbon and then use this to bring the other ingredients together to form a smooth soft ball of dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow it to rest. Next you can roll the dough out into a large disc, about 2-3mm thick. I like to do this between sheets of grease-proof paper so that I don’t incorporate any extra flour into the dough, which can result in tough, chewy pastry. Grease a loose bottomed tart tin and then carefully line it with the dough. Trim away any excess dough and keep this to one side to use as decoration. Cover the pastry and put it back in the fridge to rest for another 20 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c. Cover the rested pastry with a sheet of grease-proof paper and pile on some baking beans. Bake the tart crust for 20 minutes and then for a further 10 minutes uncovered. By now the crust should be beautifully golden and crisp. If it looks like the edges are getting a bit too brown just cover them with some baking parchment. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°c and set the tart case aside.
Now you can start on the filling. Beat together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Mix in the ground almonds, flour and baking powder. Whisk together the eggs, almond extract and the bourbon and mix this into the filling batter, so that everything is well combined.
Pour the filling into the pastry case and smooth off the top. Arrange the apricot halves on top, cut side up, pressing them into the filling. Scatter a few flaked almonds over the top and add any extra pastry decoration you might want to. The spare white left over from making the pastry makes an excellent glue for this and also gives the crust a nice shiny finish. Bake the tart for 35 minutes. Enjoy hot or cold with a dollop of cream.