Top Shows

MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

Ep 28: Apricot Tarts

Apricot Tarts

Makes: 30 tarts

Preparation: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cooking: 1 hour

Pastry shells
500g plain flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 vanilla beans, halved, seeds scraped
250g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
Pinch salt
2-4 tablespoons iced water

Crème patissiere

400ml milk
2 vanilla beans, halved, seeds scraped
25g unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
80g icing sugar
¼ cup cornflour
300ml pure cream, whipped to soft peaks

Baked apricots
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup water
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
15 fresh apricots, halved, seeds discarded
2 sprigs rosemary

1 Preheat oven to 170°C fan forced. Grease and flour 30 x 6cm (top measurement) fluted tart tins.

2 For pastry shells, place flour, icing sugar and vanilla seeds into the food processor and process until combined. Add butter and salt and pulse 2-3 times until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons iced water and pulse to bring dough together, adding more water if required. Form into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until firm enough to rolls out.

3 Cut dough in half. Roll one piece of dough between two sheets of baking paper until 1.5mm thick. Use a 9cm-diameter round pastry cutter to cut 15 discs from the dough. Use the rounds to line base and side of tart tins, trim excess. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.  Place on a baking tray in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest. Line pastry cases with baking paper. Fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden, remove baking paper and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until pastry is golden all over.

4 For crème patissiere, pour milk, vanilla and butter into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl until thick and pale. Slowly pour in scalded milk mixture, whisk continuously. Return to a clean pan and stir over low to medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove the vanilla beans and set aside to cool. Once cool, fold in whipped cream, place in a large piping bag and refrigerate until needed.

5 For baked apricots, place sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla bean and scraped seeds and simmer for 3-5 minutes until beans have dispersed. Place apricot halves cut-side down on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and pour over sugar syrup. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender (see note).

6 To assemble, pipe about one tablespoon of crème patissiere into each tart shell and top with one apricot half, cut-side down. Drizzle with syrup from baking tray. 

Note: For a glossier finish, peel and discard the apricot skin after the apricots are baked and glaze with syrup.