Apricot, Cardamom & Orange Blossom Tart

The apricot experience starts in late May and ends in July and anyone trying to find them when they are neither too hard nor too soft – but just right – may have trouble. It’s the familiar story of fruit that is at its best when tree ripened but which rarely comes to market in that condition. If you live in the US you could order them from Frog Hollow Farms which produces the best summer fruits.

Or to remedy the situation of under ripe apricots you could do what I did. I poached them in a light syrup flavored with cardamom, pink peppercorn and lime zest. When I say “poached” I don’t mean “boiled”. Too high a temperature would make the delicate fruits fill up with liquid and collapse. You would end up with more of a fruit compote. I learned the hard way.

The poached apricots would be great on their own with yogurt or a softly set panna cotta but I decided to make them the star of the show. This apricot, cardamom and orange blossom tart has a layer of almond cream on top of the buttery tart crust, the almond cream is baked until just set and the poached apricots halves are arranged on top. The tart is then filled with a custard cream flavored with orange blossom water, baked until golden, and brushed with apricot glaze.

Orange blossom water is distilled water that contains the essential oils of the orange blossom. It adds a deep floral and intriguing aroma to food and goes extremely well with apricots. I love to use it to flavor crepe batter too. You can find it in middle eastern shops, specialty shops or order it online.

Did I say how good was this tart? I mean seriously good. And by that I mean off the charts good. I think it’s at its best right out of the refrigerator.

  • Apricot, Cardamom & Orange Blossom Tart

    • Serves 6
    • For the sweet tart dough (enough for two 9 1/2 inch tarts):
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • Pinch of salt
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 large egg
    • For the almond cream:
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 cup slivered almonds
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
    • For the poached apricots:
    • 6 to 7 apricots, cut in half and pitted
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3 cups water
    • 1 tablespoon cardamom, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorn
    • zest strips of 1/2 lime
    • For the tart:
    • 3/4 cup almond cream
    • One 9-1/2 inch tart shell made from sweet tart dough, unbaked
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water, or to taste
    • poached apricots halves, drained
    • 1/2 cup apricot jam + 3 tablespoons water (for glazing)
  • For the sweet tart dough:
    • Sift together the confectioners’ sugar, flour and salt into a bowl.
    • Place the butter into a food processor and process until smooth.
    • Scatter the flour mixture over the butter, add the egg and process just until the dough forms a mass; do not overmix.
    • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least for an hour.
    • When ready, line a greased 9 1/2 inch tart pan with half the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.
    • For the almond cream:
    • Place the sugar and the slivered almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. About 2 minutes.
    • Add the butter and process until combined.
    • Add the eggs and the almond extract if using and process until smooth. About 1 minute.
    • Add the flour and process until combined. Reserve. The extra almond cream can be frozen until another use.
    • For the poached apricots:
    • Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Add the crushed cardamom, pink peppercorns and lime zest and bring to a simmer. Add the apricot halves to the syrup and regulate the heat so it doesn’t boil. Poach them gently until tender when pierced with the tip of a small knife. Cool completely in the syrup and refrigerate until ready to use.
    • To assemble and bake the tart:
    • Preheat the oven to 325′F.
    • Scrape 3/4 cup of frangipane into the chilled tart shell and spread it into an even layer. Bake for 14 minutes, until the almond layer is puffed and almost set. Cool.
    • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cream and orange blossom water to taste.
    • Arrange the drained apricots halves, cut side down on the almond layer. Pour the orange blossom custard mixture over the apricots.
    • Bake for 50 minutes, until the custard is set and the pastry is golden brown.
    • Cool the tart completely on a wire rack.
    • Meanwhile place the apricot jam and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. When syrupy, brush the top of the tart with the mixture. Refrigerate the tart until ready to eat.
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  • http://www.athoughtforfood.net/ Brian @ A Thought For Food

    I so love apricots… maybe a little too much actually.  I tend to eat so many that I give myself a stomach ache.  But, heck, it’s worth it.

  • http://amysfoodadventures.com/ Amy

    Omgosh.. divine!!!

  • Michael Dhanny

    This looks sensationally good, Stefan!

  • http://www.picnicatmarina.com/ Marina@Picnic at Marina

    Fantastic! I love apricots, especially if I have an opportunity to eat it off the tree: ripe and velvety, almost honey flavored. I remember a trip to Lake Chelan in Eastern Washington where we were buying  apricots from the local orchard. This post reminded me of that trip and the most delicious apricots I’ve ever had.

  • Yue Cheong

    looks so good & delish!!!!! Love the orange colours & the combo of using cardamom & orange blossom.

  • Mary

    Oh this looks and sounds amazing. I will be making this one! Thank you!

  • Francine Godoy

    Looks really good! :o)

  • http://kitchenmaus.gmirage.com/ Marie

    Looks certainly good, a must-try! I love your photos too!

  • Madeleine

    *Drooling* I LOVE apricots. I want to marry apricots. I can’t wait to make this! Any tips for what brand of apricot jam you like to use?

  • zenchef

    I used “Bonne Maman” Apricot preserve but anything good would work here. Enjoy!

  • zenchef

    Thanks, Yue! It is a great flavor combination. I think I’m going to experiment with it in other desserts too. 

  • zenchef

    Right off the tree. That’s the best way to enjoy apricots. I’m jealous now. :)

  • zenchef

    Thank you, Michael. 

  • zenchef

    Thanks, Brian. It is truly a magical fruit. I wish I had access to an apricot orchard so I could go and gorge myself too. 

  • zenchef

    Thanks, Amy!

  • zenchef

    Let me know if you do!

  • zenchef

    Thanks, Francine!

  • zenchef

    Thank you, Marie!

  • kitchenriffs

    I like apricots but they’ve never been one of my favorites; but then, I don’t believe I’ve ever had one that was perfectly ripe.  Which means, of course, that I’ve never really had an apricot.  Interesting post.  Most of us never have fully ripe fruit (or fully ripe anything), so learning how to cope is valuable.  Interesting recipe, and it sounds delicious.  Just another really good post – thanks.

  • http://www.myfudo.com/ Myfudo

    My husband loves apricots…I am loving the vibrant pictures. I am keeping hold of this recipe.

  • http://www.unintentionalsteam.blogspot.com Chris Chang

    I haven’t had an apricot in forever. I think I will go buy some very very soon, like today…

    This looks delicious! I could go for a slice of this right now. And I LOVEE that you poached the apricots, I’m definitely going to give that a shot.

    I do have a question. I was wondering if we could make the tart dough by hand? I don’t have a food processor.

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with fresh apricots….silly me.  I might have to convert this into cute little individual tarts for a fancy party we’re hosting soon.

  • http://cookinwluv.blogspot.com/ Javelin Warrior

    Another amazing post for me to drool over… This post was recommended to me by Anneli from the Delicious blog and I’m featuring it in this week’s Food Fetish Friday series (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and as always I love following your creations… Thanks so much for sharing.

  • IrmaSDean
  • http://glutenfreehappytummy.com/ Caralyn

    oh my gosh what a beautiful tart! and what an interesting flavor combination! thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.unintentionalsteam.blogspot.com Chris Chang

    Hi Chef Zen,

    just wanted to let you know that I tried poaching the apricots, although I didn’t have pink peppercorns.  I LOVED the addition of cardamom, first time using it too and it adds such a great aroma and flavor.

    I didn’t make the whole tart yet, but I hope to do that soon! Thank you for the recipe!

  • http://baconandrhubarb.blogspot.com/ Rachel (S[d]OC)

    What a beautiful tart and beautiful flavors – fruit, almonds, sweet tart crust and delicate spices.  I’m thinking I want some now.

    What is your source for orange blossom water?

  • Frankie

    When I made this I found the pastry melted in the oven before it had the chance to cook, and it then burnt around the edges.  It felt wetter than usual pastry dough and my instincts told me it was! I followed your instructions exactly, but made it by hand.

  • http://meatballsandmilkshakes.com/ Meatballs&Milkshakes

    Those apricots are stunning! All your pictures are beautiful, but this one really makes me crave this tart immediately!

  • zenchef

    Hi Frankie, was the dough well chilled? I made it many times but never had problems with it. If it’s an issue again you could just add a few more tablespoons of flour to the dough.