It feels like a really long time since I’ve posted anything here. Mainly because it is. I didn’t really mean to disappear from the blog (and, to a large extent, social media) for quite so long.
Basically, shit happens.
But now, it’s September and life has returned/is returning to something approaching normal (or as normal as possible given that we can now say that we’re getting married next month) and I’m finally using the kitchen as something other than a dumping ground for empty pizza boxes.
In my book, summer doesn’t end until I have to start wearing a coat to work in the mornings and I’m nowhere near that stage at the moment. There is the most splendid array of produce available at the moment and I used a few of my favourites – apricots, peaches and nectarines – to make these lovely little tarts. The combination of butter-y, shortbread-y pastry, squidgy almond frangipane and, finally, sweet and sticky fruit is just the best. So here’s to September. Let’s make it a good one.
This pastry recipe will make twice what you need for four tarts. I usually freeze the excess because it’s always worth having a little pastry in the freezer for emergencies. Or you can just double the filling recipe and make eight tarts…There’s no need to blind bake the pastry before filling and so it’s a relatively forgiving recipe. You can use whatever fruit you like here; I had a random assortment of apricots, a slightly ropey looking flat peach and a blood nectarine (which was undeniably pretentious but delicious). If you can find the latter, the colour is really stunning but you can use plums or berries or whatever really.
- 120g (1 cup) rice flour
- 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
- 60g (1/2 cup) corn starch (corn flour)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 – 3 tablespoons ice cold water
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 115g (1/2 cup) golden caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 115g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) ground almonds
- Zest of a lemon
- 2 – 3 mixed stone fruit (I used a flat peach, an apricot and a blood nectarine), stoned and sliced
- Flaked almonds
- To make the pastry, place the rice flour, ground almonds and corn flour in a food processor with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles (large) breadcrumbs. Add the egg and the water and pulse again until the mixture starts to clump together (you may need a touch more water). Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together with your hands. Divide the dough into two and set half aside for another purpose (I generally wrap it up and freeze it).
- Take the half of the dough that you’ve reserved to make the tarts and divide it into four. Roll out each piece on a well-floured surface until it’s big enough to line four small tart tins with removable bases – mine are 4 inches in diameter.
- Gently transfer the pastry to the tin, fixing up any tears as you go and remove the overhanging edges. Put the pastry cases in the fridge to chill for half an hour or so.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- To make the frangipane filling, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, continuing to beat. Finally, fold through the ground almonds and lemon zest.
- Divide the almond mixture between the tarts and smooth out to the edges. Top with a couple of slices of fruit and a scattering of flaked almonds. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and the filling is firm but still chewy. Allow to cool a little before serving, ideally with something rich and creamy.