I'm still on a canned apricot roll. There couldn't be anything easier than these free-form tarts. If you don't feel like making your own pastry, use store-bought puff pastry. Definitely fine on their own, a good quality vanilla bean ice cream makes them exceptional.
Free-form Apricot Tarts
adapted from a recipe by Sally Schneider in House Beautiful (1994)
• pastry dough (recipe follows)
• Flour for rolling pastry
• 2 16-ounce cans apricot halves, drained and patted dry with a paper towel
• 1 tablespoon kirsch or brandy
• a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 egg, beaten slightly
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• additional sugar for sprinkling
1. Divide chilled pastry dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly-floured surface into a disc approximately 5-inches in diameter. Stack the discs between pieces of waxed paper and refrigerate while preparing the apricots.
2. Slice each apricot half in two and place in a medium bowl. Toss apricots with the kirsch or brandy, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla extract. Set aside.
3. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar with the 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside.
4. Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle some of the sugar-flour mixture onto the center of the disc. Take 1/6 of the apricots and mound in the center of the tart dough. Fold the edges of the dough in over-lapping folds over the apricots. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Shave a piece of butter onto the apricots, brush the pastry with some of the beaten egg, and sprinkle the dough with some sugar. Repeat with remaining dough and apricots.
5. Place baking sheet in the center of a preheated 425˚F oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 egg
• ice water, if needed
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times. Add the butter and pulse until you have small pieces. Add the egg and pulse to combine. You may need to add several drops of ice water if the dough is too dry. Add additional water only until the dough just starts to come together. Remove from the bowl and flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours before using.