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Celebrate spring with fruit tart

Caramelizing the fruit adds depth to the flavors in Strawberry Apricot Tarte Tatin. (Associated Press)
Caramelizing the fruit adds depth to the flavors in Strawberry Apricot Tarte Tatin. (Associated Press)

Buttery crust turns apricots, berries into stand-out dessert

Like the traditional French tarte tatin, this spring pastry has caramelized fruit cooked on the stove. It then is topped with a pastry, baked and flipped out of the pan.

The typical tarte tatin is made with apples, but our spring version opts for strawberries and dried apricots.

We’ve included easy instructions on how to make a delicious, all-butter blitz pastry. If you don’t have the time, you can use purchased puff pastry, but the homemade version is definitely the star of this dessert.

Strawberry Apricot Tarte Tatin

For the pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup ice water

For the topping:

Two 16-ounce containers fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Pinch of salt

1 cup sugar, divided

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter

7-ounce bag dried apricots

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup water

To make the pastry, in a food processor combine both flours, the butter and the salt. Pulse until the butter is just distributed through the flour. It should remain in large pieces. Add the water and pulse again, just until distributed. Pulse 2 more times. The dough should still be crumbly and dry.

Pour the dough onto the counter. Press into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. It’s OK for it to be crumbly – just squeeze it together. Fold the dough in half, then use a rolling pin to roll it back to an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Fold the dough in half again and place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

While the pastry rests, in a medium bowl toss together the strawberries, lemon juice, salt and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Let sit 10 minutes.

Once the pastry has rested, roll it out once again to an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Repeat the folding and rolling process one more time, but this time roll it to a 10-inch round. Place the dough in the freezer (on a baking sheet if necessary) until the fruit is ready.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, melt the 1/4 cup butter. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cook until it turns golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the apricots, strawberries and any juices from the bowl to the pan and continue cooking until the fruit is soft and begins to caramelize, about 8 to 10 minutes. This should be done at a medium-high to high heat so that the fruit caramelizes before it gets too soft.

In a small glass, stir together the cornstarch and water. Add to the skillet and stir gently to mix. Bring to a boil, then remove the skillet from the heat.

Place the pastry over the fruit, fitting it down tightly into the pan. Use a paring knife to cut several slits in the top center of the pastry. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and let sit for another 30 minutes to allow the filling to set up.

Run a knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen the pastry. Place a large serving plate or round platter over the pan and carefully but quickly overturn the pan so the plate is on the bottom. Lift the pan off the serving plate to reveal the tart. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 570 calories, 30 grams fat (18 grams saturated, 46 percent fat calories), 6 grams protein, 76 grams carbohydrate, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber, 70 milligrams sodium.


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