The summer fruit is barreling into the house now and I need to do something with it before my house and I are completely overrun with fruit flies. What are you gonna do? You can only eat so much fruit right out of your hand – right? At this point, I’m pretty sure that pain in my stomach is a sure sign that there’s a pit beginning to form inside of me (you are what you eat). It’s either that or my body is starting to get angry with all the fiber I’m jamming into it. I’d like to think it’s just a fruit pit starting to form.
I loaded up with a few more fruits and vegetables than usual at the farmer’s market this weekend. We were having some people over for wine and nosh and I had it all figured out. Then the wheels fell off of the cart and everything came to a crashing halt. No guests…but lots of extra produce in the house.
I picked up a good size bag of apricots to make some of that fruit caprese salad I posted a couple of weeks ago. That didn’t happen, but I still had this bag of super ripe summer fruit (there were peaches, plums and nectarines too) to do something with. I hadn’t made a tart in a while, so an apricot tart it was to be.
I had been poking around on the web and came across a story for noyaux ice cream and was intrigued. What the hell is a noyaux? How have I not seen them at the market before? What kind of a food blogger am I? How did I miss them all those times I’ve been in France? As I read the story, I found out that I have seen noyaux before…and so have you.
Have you ever been eating a stone fruit and the pit splits open to reveal a little thing inside that looks like an almond? That’s what they were talking about (noyaux) as a flavoring for ice cream.
Not only do these things look like almonds, but they smell like almonds too. By the way…if you break open cherry pits, you’ll smell a rich almond aroma too. That’s why lots of cherry pie recipes call for almond extract in them. So if you break open the hard outer pit of stone fruits and pull out these little kernels, you can pull out that almond flavor and infuse it into cream. (Full disclosure: if you use enough of them you end up with cyanide, but the amount used in this recipe isn’t anything to worry about.)
So I decided that an apricot tart was to be made with the excess apricots (the other fruit will have to wait for now) but instead of topping it with ice cream, this bad boy was getting slathered with noyaux cream. Plus, it sounds really cool. Noyaux cream is pronounced: nwah-YOH cream (sorry, I know you probably already knew that second part). I couldn’t be bothered with making ice cream so I just went with the cream and basically followed this recipe from Zuni Cafe chef Judy Rogers.
This apricot tart recipe is really simple. It uses my favorite crust recipe, that you can find all over this site, and a basic fruit filling recipe that you could use with pretty much any stone fruit. The thing I like about making fruit tarts, instead of fruit pies, is that you only need one crust (for the bottom) and you can either press the dough into a pan (preferably one with a removable bottom) or just roll out the dough free form, spoon in the filling and fold the edges up around it. Simple!
What are you waiting for? Apricots are still in season so you can whip up one of these in no time. You can make it a plain and simple apricot tart or toss in some blueberries, blackberries or raspberries with the apricots. You can also top it with ice cream, whipped cream, some whipped mascarpone cheese (which is a great way to use up those little leftover bits) or really treat yourself to some noyaux cream. Besides, you’ll already have the apricot pits. Just wrap them in a towel and give ‘em a quick whack with a hammer to pop out the kernel. (Don’t do this on your counters or floor…do it outside on a sidewalk.)
- Apricot Tart
- 2½ Cups Sliced Apricots
- ½ Cup Blueberries
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice
- ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Pistachios (roughly chopped)
- Dough Recipe
- For 4 individual tart pans I only used half of this dough recipe.
- Noyaux Cream
- 10 Apricot Noyaux (kernels from inside pit)
- 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- After slicing the apricots and putting them into a bowl, set the pits aside for making the noyaux cream.
- Add the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla to the bowl of apricots.
- Give everything a good stir and place into the refrigerator to chill.
- Make the dough and set it into the refrigerator to chill.
- While everything is cooling off, it’s time to crack open the pits.
- Wrap the pits in a towel and set them on a hard surface (like a sidewalk and not your good kitchen counter or floor).
- Whack them gently with a hammer (it doesn’t take a lot to crack the pit) and separate the kernel from the hard shell).
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Place the kernels (noyaux) onto a baking sheet and pop it into the oven.
- Cook until you smell a strong aroma of almond but before the kernels brown. It took mine somewhere around 5-7 minutes, but start checking around 3 minutes.
- Remove them from the oven.
- Heat the cream just until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan.
- Add the noyaux and remove the pan from the heat. Let steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain cream into a new container then put into the refrigerator to chill.
- Roll out the dough and either place into your pan or leave free form.
- Spoon filling into pans, or dough circle, and slide into oven (if using tart pans, make sure you have the tart pans sitting on a baking sheet).
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until fruit is golden and dough has firmed up.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with a few chopped pistachio nuts.
- Let tarts cool.
- Whip cream until stiff peaks form.
- Place a good dollop of noyaux cream on each tart and zest a bit of orange over the cream and serve.
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