Before we all move on to apples and pumpkin, lets make the most of the last stone fruits-apricots, peaches and plums, the former and the latter so delicious in cakes and tarts, and so often overlooked in favour of the almighty apple pie.
This beauty comes from one of my favourite new books of the summer, How to Eat a Peach, by the great British food writer Diana Henry. (The title was inspired by a night in Italy when the author was in her twenties, and a couple at the next table at the outdoor trattoria she was dining at were served a bowl of ripe peaches, which they sliced into glasses of cold moscato; they’d then sip the bubbly wine, now infused with peach, and eat the peach slices, now imbued with the flavour of the wine.)
It’s one of those desserts you may glance at and think is too fussy, and while it looks it, it’s really not – it uses a ground almond pastry base you blitz in the food processor and press into the tart pan, and a simple frangipane filling (butter, sugar, egg, almonds, flour) you spread in the crust to anchor thick slices of apricot, although I suspect it would be a perfect vehicle for cherries, plums, nectarines or peaches, too.
The formula is adapted slightly – the original calls for superfine sugar, which I find unnecessary and not commonly kept in home kitchens; I also used salted butter instead of unsalted, and used vanilla in place of the 1/2 tsp amaretto in the pastry and frangipane, simply because I’m not a fan of amaretto and so don’t have a bottle. I also cut my apricots into thick wedges—6 for the large, and quarters for the small—rather than halves. Either works!
I know summer is slipping away, but it’s still beautiful and hot out east, and although cooler in Alberta, the dropping temperature makes me want to turn on the oven – and with so much produce still at the markets, it’s really perfect baking season right now.