In the Kitchen
Do you want to increase the pre-Christmas spirit in your life? Well I have the tart for you. It includes a few of my favourite things. Not raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens but lemon, figs, almonds, apricots and orange.
This little number, actually 25cm in diameter, will make your tinsel glisten.
It's a noble dessert perfect for pre-Christmas occasions or for the big day itself.
Serve in the afternoon with tea and sherry or for pudding with dessert wine.
FIG, APRICOT AND ORANGE FRANGIPANE TART
Serves eight to 10
Serve with vanilla-flavoured cream, runny custard or vanilla ice cream.
Lemon Almond Pastry
Fig & Apricot Filling
1 egg white, lightly beaten
icing sugar, for dusting
Lightly grease a round, 25cm, loose-bottomed tart tin with butter or baking spray. My tin was 3.5cm deep.
On a lightly floured bench, roll pastry into a 2mm-thick 32cm circle. Carefully place pastry into tin by rolling it loosely over the rolling pin, picking up and rolling it over the tin. Press pastry into tin without stretching it, being careful to exclude any air and allow edges of pastry to overhang edges of tin. Do not be alarmed if pastry breaks when lifting. Simply press broken edges together.
Place in refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
To partially blind bake pastry: Cover pastry with aluminium foil and fill cavity with baking beans or raw rice. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until pastry sides are almost cooked and base is set.
Remove aluminium foil and baking beans or rice. Trim pastry overhang level with rim of tart tin.
Reduce oven temperature to 170C.
Lightly brush base with egg white.
Spoon Fig & Apricot Filling on to base and spread to make an even layer.
Cover with Orange Frangipane and smooth top.
Place into preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until pastry base is golden brown and frangipane is cooked through.
Remove from oven and cool. Serve at room temperature.
Alternatively, cool, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for up to two days.
To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. You can use a paper doily as a template to create a pattern.
LEMON ALMOND PASTRY
160g (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) flour
50g (1/4 cup) castor sugar
35g (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) ground almonds
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, chilled and finely diced
1 tsp rum
1 tsp milk
Place flour, sugar, ground almonds, lemon zest and salt into a food processor fitted with metal blade. Sprinkle butter over flour and process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Place egg, rum and milk into a jug and whisk together. With processor running, pour egg mixture through feed tube until pastry just begins to form a ball (you may not need all the liquid).
Remove pastry from processor and press into a disc shape.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until ready to use. Alternatively, refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.
FIG & APRICOT FILLING
Try to use dried apricots from Central Otago - they are more luscious than imported varieties.
200g (1 cup) dried figs, roughly chopped
165g (1 cup) dried apricots, roughly chopped
110g (3/4 cup) raisins
100g (1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp) marmalade
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Place figs into a medium-sized bowl, cover with hot water and soak for 30 minutes.
Drain well, discard water and place figs into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
Add apricots and raisins and process to a chunky paste.
Transfer fruit to a large bowl and add marmalade, cinnamon, mixed spice and lemon zest. Stir well to combine.
Use immediately or refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use for up to a month.
180g unsalted butter, diced and softened
180g (3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) castor sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
180g (11/2 cups) ground almonds
30g (41/2 Tbsp) flour, sifted
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
Place butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle beater and beat until well creamed and soft.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions. Mix until soft and creamy. Remove bowl from mixer. Add vanilla, almonds, flour and zest and mix until combined.
- The Dominion Post