A foodie family's diary of travel, food, and photos

Nectarines, Lavender and French Almonds

July 8th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Cakes - (Comments Off on Nectarines, Lavender and French Almonds)

I have been pondering for the past few days what to do with the bowl of nectarines.  Also, for the past few weeks I’ve had a packet of edible lavender sitting on the kitchen table.  While discussing options with Cheriece this morning she suggested a nectarine tart with a frangipane filling and from there I made a small leap to frangipane and lavender.

And it all came together with lavender, almond and vanilla creating a balmy redolence.


Recipe for Nectarine, lavender and frangipane tart


For the shortbread pastry
200 grams all purpose flour
150 grams butter
75 grams almond flour (ground almonds)

150 grams castor sugar
2 Tablespoons edible lavender
1-2 Tablespoons ice water
For the Frangipane
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh cream
1 vanilla pod
100 grams castor sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoons french almond extract
50 grams almond flour
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3 Nectarines
3 Tablespoons peach or nectarine jam
1 teaspoon lavender
For the shortbread pastry
1.  Grease a 8 inch pie dish and dust with flour
1.  Rub the butter into the flour until you have a crumb texture
2.  Mix in the almond flour, sugar and lavender
3.  Add a few drops of water and bring the mixture together into a ball, adding a few drops more water if necessary.
4.  Press the mixture into the pie dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
5.  Then bake in an moderate oven (about 320C) for 15 minutes
6.  Remove from oven and allow to cool
For the Frangipane
1.  Place the milk, cream and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to boil, then take off heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes
2.  Whisk the eggs and sugar until creamy, add the almond flour, almond extract and flour to the egg mix and whisk again until smooth
3.  Return the milk and cream to the heat and add the egg mixture stirring continually
4.  When the mixture starts to thicken remove from heat and cool.
To assemble and bake
1.  Slice the Nectarines into 12 slices each
2.  Pour a little of the frangipane mixture into the pastry case
3.  lay the nectarine slices in a circular pattern
4.  Pour the remaining frangipane mix over the top of the nectarines
5.  Bake for 30 minutes until set.
To finish
1.  Heat a little peach or nectarine jam diluting with water to reach a syrup consistency, add the lavender.
2.  Brush the top of the tart with the jam glaze

Rosy Cheeked Apricots

June 17th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Cakes | Dessert - (Comments Off on Rosy Cheeked Apricots)

It’s apricot season and rosy apricots from the south of France have just arrived in London, unfortunately not bringing the sunshine with them.  So to add a little sunny cheer to my kitchen I’ve made my old standard apricot tart.
Apricots remind me of my childhood in South Africa where we had a small orchard in the back garden growing peaches, plums, apricots and a few citrus, but the apricots were always my favourite.   Small, cheerful rosy cheeks with the sweet taste of summers spent playing in the garden, dipping into the pool whenever it got too hot.
I sometimes jazz this recipe up with almonds.  See note below recipe.
Recipe for Apricot Tart
For the pastry
150 grams all-purpose flour
50 grams caster sugar
pinch salt
80 grams butter
¼ cup ice water
For the filling
10-12 apricots
3 Tablespoons caster sugar
2/3 cup water
1 vanilla pod (split down length)
For glaze
3 Tablespoons apricot jam
Crème Fraiche, Whipped cream or ice-cream for serving
1.     Butter pie or quiche pan well and shake with flour.
2.     Place all dry ingredients in bowl and rub butter into mixture till bread crumb texture is reached.  Add iced water 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture adheres together and can be formed into a ball.  Be careful not to put too much water the mixture should not be tacky.
3.     Press pastry into pie dish using your fingers to work the dough into an even spread across the bottom and up the sides.
4.     Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
5.     Wash and halve the apricots, then remove stalks and stones carefully to avoid damaging the fruit.
6.     Place sugar water and vanilla pod into shallow frying pan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Then plan apricot halves cut side down in liquid.  Simmer for about 10 minutes on a low heat until liquid is a little syrupy. Turn heat off and allow apricots to cool.
7.     Lay apricots into the pie dish cut side down filling all the available spaces.  Cut a few in half to fill smaller gaps if necessary.  Pour half the syrup over the top.
8.     Place slightly above centre in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) and bake for 30 minutes or until pastry in lightly browned.
9.     While the tart is cooling heat the apricot jam in the remaining syrup and then brush the top of the tart, including the pastry with the glaze.
For a variation replace 1/3 of the flour with almond flour and garnish the top of the tart with flaked almonds