This is probably one of my all-time favorite desserts: tart, sweet, crisp, and creamy simultaneously. I can't take credit for it, though, as the following is a version of this excellent Jacque Torres recipe altered to suit my needs.
I definitely suggest fresh apricots for this, though you can use canned ones patted dry in a pinch. The little tart pans are pretty easy to find in stores, but I love this set from Fat Daddio's. They're a perfect tiny size and hold up well to lots of use.
Warm Apricot Tarts
Pate Sablee, recipe follows
Almond Cream, recipe follows
12 Fresh Apricots
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
1/3 cup almond flour
2 cups cake flour
2 sticks (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
l large egg
1 cup slivered almonds, ground finely
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly spray your mini tart pans with baking spray.
Make your Pate Sablee: Place the almond flour, cake flour and cold butter in the mixing bowl and mix until combined. Add the salt and powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Add the egg and mix until combined. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour to chill dough.
Roll the chilled dough out on a floured surface to about 1/8" thickness. Using a round cookie cutter about a half inch larger than your mini tart pans, cut out 24 circles. Line tart pans with the dough. Pat it in lightly and trim the excess.
Make the almond cream: Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated, then add in the almonds and flour and mix until smooth. Do not over mix after adding the flour, or else the cream will lose its delicate texture. Fill the cream into a large piping bag and pipe a dollop into each tart shell. Do not fill the cream all the way to the top, as it will puff up while baking.
Halve your apricots. Trim the halves down so that they lay flat, and use a small heart cookie cutter to cut a heart out of each half. Place an apricot heart on top of the almond cream in each tart and push it down gently.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust and almond cream are lightly browned. Once the tarts are slightly cooled, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve warm.
Yields: 24 adorable baby tarts.
You'll be left with lots of apricot scraps once you're done with this recipe, which isn't a bad problem to have. I just throw the scraps in the freezer and use them to make awesome smoothies later. Or, you could prevent having scraps to begin with by making a full-sized tart and just halving the apricots, like so (old photo, ahoy!):
As long as you have almond cream and apricot in your tummy, there's really no such thing as a bad option.