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SEASONS

Apricot tart

(Food Styling/Lisa Zwirn; Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)
By Lisa Zwirn
Globe Correspondent / June 10, 2009

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Serves 8

Apricot season runs through early July, although the tender fruits, grown mostly in California, usually disappear by late June because they're not sturdy enough to survive the cross-country trek. Look for rounds with a peachy-orange color, velvety skin, and floral perfume. The sweet-tart flavor and firm flesh hold up perfectly in this tart, where lightly caramelized wedges are nestled in a buttery almond crust. Garnish with sweetened creme fraiche or heavy cream.

PASTRY

1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons cold water
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1. Have on hand a 9-inch tart pan with removable base.

2. In a food processor, work the almonds until chopped. Add the flour, sugar, and salt. Process until the almonds are fine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with water and pulse just until the mixture begins to clump. On a floured counter, form it into a dough.

3. With floured fingers, press the dough evenly into the tart pan, making the sides thicker and pressing it all the way up to the top rim.

4. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line the tart shell with foil and pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Lift off the foil and weights. Continue baking for 8 minutes or until the pastry edges are golden.

FILLING

About 9 ripe apricots, pitted and quartered
7 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons apricot preserves (mash large chunks with a fork)
1. In a medium bowl, combine the apricots, 5 tablespoons of the sugar, and the lemon juice. Set aside for 1 hour.

2. Spread 1 tablespoon of the preserves on the crust. Arrange the apricots curved sides up on the crust (discard the liquid in the bowl). Brush the apricots with the remaining 1 tablespoon preserves and 2 tablespoons sugar.

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the apricots are tender and slightly caramelized on top. Set the tart on a rack for 5 minutes.

4. Set the tart on a small bowl so the rim drops off. Cool completely.