I have a confession to make: I have a tendency to be fickle at times. It's a little embarrassing to admit because being fickle isn't exactly a flattering personality trait to have. Fortunately, I'm only fickle about the more superficial and fun things in life. Do I buy the lavender J. Crew cardigan or the coral? I'll buy the coral, then return it for the lavender. Then go back and buy the coral one, too. Soup and salad at lunch, or soup and a sandwich? Or maybe a burger? Blog about everything I cook and bake, then blog about only Italian food, now back to blogging about Italian and everything else. See how fickle I can be?
Like I said, fortunately, I'm only fickle about all about the fun stuff (I've been married for almost eleven years, so I'm definitely not fickle in the love department!). I thought I could focus my blog on everything Italian, but I felt a little stifled looking through only my Italian cookbooks, when I love looking through all of my cookbooks and half dozen food magazines and all the wonderful food blogs out there on the Internet. So, I'm back to blogging about whatever strikes my culinary fancy. Italian food will still be well represented, I promise (it is my first food love, and my heritage after all), but I don't always cook and bake Italian and I just couldn't ignore all the other deliciousness out there and not blog about it when I make it. Like this Apricot Jam Tart.
I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen last month and promptly printed it out, hoping for an opportunity to present itself so that I could quickly offer to bring dessert. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait too long. I was invited to a lunch my mother-in-law hosted this week at her house and I wasted no time in offering to bring dessert. This tart fit the bill for something both easy and elegant. There's a crust that comes together in seconds thanks to the food processor and no rolling--just some press-in-the-pan action with a half hour chill in the refrigerator (or less time if you put it in the freezer). Even easier is opening a jar of your favorite fruit jam and spooning a thin, even layer onto the buttery crust, and topping it with the some of the same crust that you've reserved and cut into thin disks, which puff and spread in the oven, encasing the sweet jam and turning golden after less than an hour in the oven.
Deb's recipe showcased this tart with a cherry jam filling and she laced the hearty (and divine) cornmeal crust with almond extract. While I adore cherry jam, I can't say the same thing about almond extract, so I flavored my crust with vanilla extract and used apricot preserves instead. Next time I make this, I might try blackberry jam. Or raspberry. Or strawberry. It's a good thing this tart recipe is so versatile--it's perfect for the fickle side in all of us.
Apricot Jam Tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
9 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg, separated
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 to 1 3/4 cups fruit jam or marmalade
2 T. granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, mix the butter and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar together until smooth. Add the whole egg, the egg yolk (reserve the egg white), and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and pulse with every addition until the dough just comes together, making sure not to over-mix.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and reserve about ? of it, shaping it into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Transfer the remaining dough to a buttered 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your fingertips, gently press the dough into the pan and up the side rim of the tart pan. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan until firm, at least 1 hour.
When you are ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the jam or marmalade evenly over the dough in the pan. Cut the log of chilled dough into thin rounds with a sharp knife (a paring knife works well for this task). Arrange the rounds of dough over the jam to form a top crust. Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 teaspoon of water until frothy and gently brush it over the top and sides of the crust. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake until the crust is a golden brown color, 25-30 minutes.
Store wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 3 days (if it lasts that long).
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