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Apricot and basil shortbread tart


This is Week #34 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click on the above graphic to view all P&TC recipes. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

The end of August, and the end of SUMMER, my dear beloved summer, is approaching, which means I am attempting to squeeze in as many summer-time recipes as I can. I love summer recipes. Salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, anything on the grill, ice cream, cold cold margaritas, I could go on and on..  

I was excited to make this apricot tart because I thought it would be a fresh, light end-of-the-summer (sniff) treat. It was totally scrumptious. I have to mention that the shortbread crust on this thing? OMG! Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. LOVED IT TO PIECES.

First, make the pastry cream.

In a saucepan, combine:

3/4 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. 

Remove the basil from the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together:

1/4 cup whole milk

2 large egg yolks

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted. 

Scrape into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.

Looks like lemon curd, doesn't it? Well it is a little bit shocking when it tastes nothing like lemon curd!

Now make the pastry (the yum yum delicious pastry that I'm madly in love with).

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 

Spray a 14x4-1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Or do like I did and use a 9-inch round tart pan without a removable bottom.

Add to a medium bowl:

1 large hard-boiled egg yolk

1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

(Do you see a person in a coffin? Or perhaps a child sleeping?)

Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Beat at low speed until just combined.

Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.

Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool for 1 hour.

Now prepare the topping!

Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 6 apricots, halved, cut side up, on the paper and sprinkle all over with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the apricots are tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush all over with 1/3 cup melted apricot jam.

Cut tart crosswise into strips and serve.

You might notice that I left the tart in the tart pan and cut it like a pie. It worked just fine this way!

Decorate with basil leaves, if desired.


Click here for a printable recipe!

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Reader Comments (11)

Out of sight! That looks amazing, fantastic photos my dear :) That shortbread crust sounds pretty darn good if it can rival Christmas cookies! Here's hoping your summer lasts a wee bit longer so we can get getting these phenom little lovelies :)

08.24.2011 | Unregistered CommenterParsley Sage

Oh the basil cream with the apricots on top sound amazing! I really want to try this- i better hurry before the fresh apricots are gone. =)

Ooooh, this looks absolutely delicious! Love the idea of the basil pastry cream, wow, that sound so yummy!

08.25.2011 | Unregistered Commentersara

Uhm, what to say other than this looks STUNNING! the flavours and textures in this would take some beating for sure. Beautiful recipe!

WOWZA! That looks amazing...I love the combination of flavors that you have going on here with the basil, apricot and shortbread. You can't go wrong with any of those ingredients!

08.25.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRavieNomNoms

Such wonderfully summer flavors! I just had to throw out some apricots :( But now I need to go back and buy some more to make this!

08.25.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEvan @swEEts

Pip, your food photography is stunning. The oranges and yellows of this incredible looking treat contrast brilliantly. Beautiful post, really beautiful.

This looks so delicious! I love the combination of apricots and basil. Definitely would like to give this a try.

The tart looks great.

08.25.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

It's simply beautiful. I would never in a million years have thought of pairing basil with intriguing!

08.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuanita

Oh my word, this is beautiful! And I LOVE pairing basil with sweets! BUZZED!

08.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

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