Puff Pastry Part II: Slim Apricot Tarts

Fresh apricots adorn a round of flaky puff pastry.

With a name like that, I wish I could tell you these tarts were the new magic diet food.

If only I could hunker down with one all to myself and become instantly slim.

I wish!

“Slim Apricot Tarts” are majestic with fresh summer apricots. And fruit does a body good, doesn’t it?

Oh sure, the fruit does sit on a platform of buttery puff pastry. And the apricots do get brushed with sweet apricot jam before serving.

But it’s all good, isn’t it?

It sure tastes that way. The apricots are first par-boiled to get them squishy soft. You remove the pits and peel off the skins (throw them away or nosh on them as you toil away at this task). Then, you place them atop the puff pastry dough to bake.

The recipe is from “Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard” (Ten Speed Press), of which I recently received a review copy. The book is by the wonderful British food writer, Nigel Slater. If you have never experienced his elegant, evocative, winning prose — especially in books like my favorite “Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger” (Gotham) — you are truly missing out.

Apricots from Frog Hollow Farm.

In two attempts with two different brands of puff pastry, my tarts never attained the regal height of the ones depicted in the cookbook photo. Next time I make them, I think I will forgo the step of rolling the dough thinner to 1/8 of an inch and just use the dough as is, which will probably result in a slightly taller tart.

These simple tarts really let the fruit shine through, which made this the perfect recipe to use after I received a surprise sample box in the mail of gorgeous Frog Hollow Farm apricots.

The recipe makes two small tarts — enough for two people, according to the recipe. But if you’re wanting to indulge yet heed society’s call to be slim, by all means, cut each tart in half for four servings. It’s plenty.

Slim Apricot Tarts

(Serves 2 to 4, depending on how slim or portly your appetite may be)

8 apricots

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

7 ounces of puff pastry, thawed

4 tablespoons apricot jam

Put apricots into a small saucepan, add the sugar and enough water just to cover the fruit, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the fruit is soft and tender. It must be soft enough to crush between your fingers. Drain, halve, and discard the skins and pits. The skins should slide off effortlessly. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a baking sheet in it to get it hot.

Roll the pastry out to 1/8 inch thick, which is thinner than you would normally expect. Cut two rounds of pastry approximately 6 inches in diameter. Score a wide rim around the outside of each one, about a third of an inch from the edge, taking care not to cut right through the pastry. Place apricots flat-side down on the pastry, steering clear of the rim of each tart.

Take the hot baking sheet from the oven, lift the tarts onto the baking sheet with a large, flat spatula, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden. Warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan and brush it over the tarts. Eat warm or cool.

Adapted from “Ripe” by Nigel Slater

More Stone Fruit Recipes: Martha Stewart’s Nectarine and Raspberry Tart

And: David Lebovitz’s Nectarine-Frangipane Galette

And: Stone Fruit Tea Cake

And: Peach Blueberry Cake

And: Apricot, Almond Brown Butter Tart

More: Puff Pastry Part I — Savory Sun-Dried Tomato and Onion Tart

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