While apricots are comparatively cheap and the lavender is still flowering, make these easy but luscious little tarts. Assembled in minutes, they make a lovely summery dessert. A dollop of vanilla ice cream doesn’t go amiss.
I’m conscious that many of my friends live alone or in pairs and while bigger tarts (stop sniggering at the back) are good for larger gatherings, sometimes solo cooks get left out. Few of us want to eat the same thing day in, day out, or to have leftovers looking reproachful and increasingly unlovely in the fridge. For this reason I am giving quantities for single portions. Just scale up if you’re cooking for more.
Of course, this leaves individuals with most of a sheet of puff pastry looking for a home. My solution would be to cut it into sections and bake it sandwiched between two baking sheets. Cook until crisp, layer in a tub with baking paper, and freeze until needed. Take a look at these tomato and tapenade tartlets for inspiration and a method. Or you could just gorge on cheese straws, of course.
The apricots I bought from a UK supermarket were supposedly ‘ripen at home’. They were like bullets, and while they’ll never taste like fruit picked ripe from a tree in Italy (I’m thinking of you, Carla Tomasi) roasting helps soften them and bring out their flavour.
Apricot Tartlets with Almond & Lavender
Ingredients per person:
Ready-made puff pastry
1 apricot, halved, pitted and sliced
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp ground almonds
2 tsp caster sugar (or to taste) plus more to sprinkle
A few flaked almonds
1 tsp fresh lavender flowers, picked from the stems
1/2 tsp butter
1 tbsp apricot jam, warmed, to glaze
Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/400F/Gas Mark 6. Put in a baking sheet to heat up.
Cut a 12 cm diameter circle or a square of similar size from the puff pastry. Score a line 1.5 cm around the edge, being careful not to cut all the way through. Lightly score a hatch pattern in the centre to stop it rising during baking (a tip from the BBC Good Food website – it works better than pricking with a fork).
In a small bowl, mix the creme fraiche, sugar and ground almonds. Spread this over the central section of pastry and top with the sliced apricot. Sprinkle with a little more sugar, scatter over the flaked almonds and lavender flowers and dot with a little butter.
Brush the edges with milk and slide onto the pre-heated baking sheet. Cook for around 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the apricots have softened.
Remove from the oven and (optionally) gently brush the fruit with warmed, sieved apricot jam. Eat warm or at room temperature. They’re best on the day they’re made.