Tuesday, August 03, 2010

in season: cardamom apricot pistachio crostata

My favorite scents are all foods. I like to wear lemon verbena. The hand soaps in my bathrooms are ginger and lemon, or coconut and honey. My deodorant smells like lemongrass. My body lotion actually has real vanilla beans in it. I even caught myself sniffing a delicious anti-bacterial wipe with lemongrass and thyme scent. Deliciously clean. Now I want a perfume scented with warm cardamom and ripe apricots.

This rustic tart was one of those great recipes that built in my head throughout the day. First I got the gorgeous apricots and sniffed and sniffed them. Then I decided I wanted some crunch and thought that the subtle sweetness of pistachios would be the perfect thing to offset the tartness of the fruit. Then, for some reason, pistachios make me thing of cardamom. It just seemed to make perfect sense.

The tart is true simplicity. A classic pate brisee crust made free-form over the fresh fruit, just tossed in sugar and spice and sprinkled liberally with chopped nuts. I did think after I already baked it that I should have used honey instead of sugar for another layer of flavor, but the good thing about cooking revelations that come a little too late is always having an excuse to make it again. Recipe after the jump:


For the pate brisee:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
3-5 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds ripe apricots (About a dozen small)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the topping: 1/3 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

To make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple times to mix and aerate. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Slowly add the ice water a tablespoon at a time through the feed tube as the processor runs. Add just enough water for the dough to start to come together. Turn the dough out onto the counter, shape into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

To make the filling: Slice the apricots along the seam and remove the pit. Cut each half into 2 or 3 wedges, depending on the size of the apricot. Toss the wedges with the sugar, cardamom and salt until well coated. Let sit for a few minutes while you roll out your crust.

Roll your crust into a 13-inch circle. Arrange the apricot wedges in a decorative pattern from the inside out, leaving a 2-inch border of crust all around. Pour over any syrup that may have collected at the bottom of the bowl of fruit. Fold the overhang of the crust over the fruit all around the tart. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then scatter the chopped pistachios evenly over the fruit, return to the oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

No comments: