Well, I've had a bag of dried apricots in the cupboard for a while now and it has been sitting at the back of the pantry and my mind, just waiting to be used. I was too lazy to find a recipe that involved them, so I made up my own.
It turned out beautifully--the perfect dessert to eat straight out of the oven, topped with ice cream and drizzled with a little cream or caramel sauce. It involves a crispy puff pastry crust, encasing a sweet apricot filling, topped with crushed almonds and brown sugar crumble with a simple lattice to decorate. I have to say I'm not a huge fan of apricots or almonds on their own, but the combination is surprisingly delicious and most satisfying. It's a winner! They're the prefect dessert for one of those chilly winter nights, and look particularly impressive with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
APRICOT TARTS WITH ALMOND CRUMBLE
1 cup dried apricots
3 tbsp. white sugar
2/3 cup water, plus 1/3 extra
1/3 cup whole almond kernels (or almond meal)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 sheet puffed pastry
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease 6 regular sized muffin holes, or use silicone for added ease.
Place the apricots, white sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook on high until boiling, reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, until apricots are tender and soft. You may wish to add an extra 1/3 cup water towards the end of this time if the liquid evaporates before the apricots are tender.
Meanwhile, place almond kernels in a food blender and blitz until roughly chopped up into meal. Place in a small bowl and stir the brown sugar through the almond meal until combined.
When the apricots are tender, place them, undrained, into the blender and process until pureed into a smooth pulp.
Using a 9cm round biscuit cutter, cut 6 discs from the thawed puffed pastry sheet. Push these into the greased muffin tin holes. Place on heaped tablespoon of apricot filling into each. Top with 1 flatter tablespoon of the almond meal mixture. Decorate with remaining puffed pastry if desired. Bake until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and a swirl of caramel sauce.
Makes 6 individual desserts