The photos of ingredients I’ve purchased for recipes I’ve tried recently grow in my photo library seemingly overnight even though I delete nearly as many as I decide to edit, mentally processing the quality of the recipe as I process my shots of it. Recipes are sampled and the leftovers tucked away — or wedged considering the condition my fridge is currently suffering from — and the cycle repeats sans the writing that should factor in there somewhere. Fresh fruit and vegetables are positioned on the kitchen counter tops in a sort of line up lest I forget they’re ready to be used. At some point, inspiration has to inspire, doesn’t it? So that would be the problem.
And a lack of inspiration is not a small problem.
So while I prod, poke, and try to revive it, I’ve been cleaning up a few favorite old posts. There’s nothing quite like restoring broken links, uploading photos from an old server onto a new one, and reformatting posts to keep one busy enough to justify a lack of creativity and avoidance of housework.
I also moved my photography station from the dining room to my office upstairs a few days ago, surprising myself with something I hadn’t given much thought to before it happened. It’s not a bad idea, but I’d just gotten organized in the office and spruced things up a bit — including the purchase of fabric to make curtains. Nice curtains, too. At this point, if I’m going to use the light from the window, then why put curtains up? Not an Earth-shattering dilemma, but still.
As much as I will enjoy not having lights and props lined up on the dining room table, I’ll miss the convenience of everything being right next to the kitchen. I can still use the space when the light is perfect but won’t have to tolerate the things sitting around like a mess when I’m downstairs I’ve already figured out a tray is in order to carry food upstairs, and a tote to carry props back and forth from the garage. Perhaps one of those calorie counting gizmos is in order to make me feel even better about my decision since I’ll have to
Time will tell. It always does.
In the meantime, I was lulled by the beauty of two kinds of apricots in the market a few days ago, and so they became my first experiment shooting with the light from my office window. Leftover tart dough rescued from my freezer helped not only with the photography experiment, but a tart experiment as well.
This tart is perfect if you’ve got fresh apricots and want a tart that isn’t fussy to make. The filling is is quickly mixed and poured over the apricots before baking. A lovely recipe to end any meal.
Apricot Honey Almond Tart
3 T sliced almonds
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 lg. egg
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T wild-flower honey
1 T cake flour
1 pinch dried lavender
5 fresh apricots
powdered sugar for sprinkling
1 blind baked pie crust, cooled. Use this crust recipe — it’s delicious!
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the bottom of the blind-baked crust (I used an 8″ square)
- Cut each of the apricots into 8 wedges and arrange them over the almonds so that they cover the surface of the crust as much as possible. You should have 4 rows of 10 wedges
- Prepare the cream by whisking the cream, egg, both extracts, and honey until well blended, then add the flour and mix well.
- Carefully pour the cream mixture over the apricots as evenly as possible.
- Sprinkle the dried lavender over the surface.
- Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven until the surface is golden brown, about 50 minutes.
- Cool completely on a baking rack.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
My Recipe Notes:
- This recipe was an adaptation of an adaptation from Patricia Wells’ At Home in Provence. Picture someone’s photocopy of the recipe marked with their notes, and I took it from there.
- This is a lovely tart — a balanced combination of tartness and sweetness. Definitely no sugar overload here. I tried it with and without the sprinkle of powdered sugar and enjoyed it both ways.
- I had apricots that were crying out to be used and I originally intended to use both traditional apricots and some lovely Black Velvet Apricots, but the black apricots are much more tender in texture, quite juicy, and have fruit that clings to the stone more so than the traditional apricots. This meant I would not have perfect little rows of apricot wedges for my tart, so I came up with Plan B for a second tart which I’ll write about later.
- Yes, I know that photo above is from a different sized tart pan, but I fell in love with the dough draping over the side of the pan — and remember — I was actually caught up in the throes of my new lighting set up.
- It seems I always have scraps of pie dough in my freezer, so that’s what I used for this tart. I thaw it still wrapped in the fridge until it’s still pretty firm, then roll it on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/8″ thick. I place it in a pan lightly sprayed with oil, easing the dough into the sides, sometimes doubling up the thickness with any extra dough that is draping over the sides. I press it into the fluted edges, lightly tamping down from the top as well. I like to leave a bit of dough poking above the edge of the pan because even when I use pie weights during blind baking, there’s shrinkage.
- Speaking of shrinkage, I forgot to use my pie weights, so the edges did slip a bit. In the end, it was more rustic looking which is always fine with me, but I was worried about overflow during baking so I wrapped the tart pan in foil. A bit leaked out, but it easily came out of the pan for serving.
- If you choose to use the pie dough recipe I’ve linked above (which is excellent — I’ve made it many times now) then you will have quite a bit left over. Just freeze it in a well-wrapped disk shape to make rolling easy after it thaws.
- Another good tip when working with pie dough is to put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking. It helps keep all the fat solid so that when it bakes, it melts and creates a lovely, flaky crust.
- Try any kind of stone fruit with this recipe. I’m thinking cherries would be lovely!
- The Black Velvet Apricots are headed for jam!