As this rainy spring continues into a rainy May, we find ourselves in need of a serious pick-me-up—and, as always, preferably one of the food variety. This week, we spotted one we didn’t expect: beautiful apricots, the first of the season. A rare find this early in May, we couldn’t resist taking a few home with us.
But of course, being that it is early May, we expected them to be fairly tart—and we were right. But did that stop us? No! We’re crazy about apricots. (And word on the street is they’re crazy about us, too. Who can blame them.) The perfect solution? Tarte tatin. We love the traditional apple version, but one with apricots? Sign. Us. Up. Firm, tart apricots turn soft and sweet and mellow with a bath of homemade caramel and, in our case, a sprinkle of fresh rosemary and just a pinch of cayenne pepper.
The perfect counterpoints to the sweetness of the tart, fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of cayenne brighten things up and bring unexpected depth of flavor to the dish. Finish the whole thing off with a spoonful of whipped cream, yogurt, or ice cream, and you’ve got yourself one killer spring dessert—and more than that, the perfect Mother’s Day Dessert. Beautiful, fresh, and classic with a twist. Suddenly, the phrase “a serious pick-me-up” seems like a serious understatement.
Happy Mother’s Day, all you moms!
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Apricot Tarte Tatin with Fresh Rosemary
Notes: You can use any pie crust you like. Lou likes her olive oil pie crust. Lee likes to use puff pastry, which is not only delicious, but speeds the whole process considerably when you use the store-bought kind (it’s not a cheat when it’s puff pastry!)… which means less time until you get to eat.
- 10-inch cast iron frying pan or other heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan.
- 1 1/2 pounds apricots (probably 9–10—enough to fill your pan when they are halved)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2–3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 10-inch pie crust (see notes above) or a 14-ounce package of store-bought puff pastry (we like Dufour)
* Preheat oven to 400° F with rack positioned in the middle.
* Heat the sugar, 1/3 cup of water and cayenne in the pan over low heat. Stir to mix.
* Turn the heat up to medium high. Do not stir. You can gently swirl the pan to prevent hot spots from burning, but be careful: it’s SUPER hot.
* When the caramel turns amber in color, immediately remove from heat. Do not let it burn or you will need to start over. Set aside, and let cool.
* Cut the apricots in half and discard the stones.
* Press a couple of rosemary leaves into each half.
* Arrange the apricots cut side down in the pan.
* Drape the pie crust or puff pastry over them, carefully tucking the edges in. Make several slits in the dough to allow steam to escape.
* Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and baked through.
* Remove tart from the oven and let it rest at least 10 minutes.
* Unmold the tartin: The pan and juices from the fruit will still be very hot so wear oven mitts on both hands! Run a sharp knife around the edge of the tart if it looks like it might need loosening. Place a plate on top of the pan and holding the plate tight to the pan, quickly flip over to turn the tart out onto the plate. Be really careful when you do this—the apricots give off a lot of juice, and some will likely leak out, so you may want to flip the tart over the sink. Don’t worry if any of the apricots stick to the pan—just lift them out and put them back in place on the tart.
* Snip some rosemary leaves over the tart and serve with whipped cream, yogurt, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
© 2015 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved.