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Home for three days! Whoopee!

I’m back from production fun and frolics in Wiltshire, and am enjoying a mini Parisian stop-over before heading south for a concert in the Alps. I will be sorry indeed to leave my kitchen again so SOON, but what better to way to spend the time than by rustling up a juicy summer fruit tart?

KP is coming over to dinner tomorrow to discuss preparations for an upcoming wedding in Lisbon…she’s panicking about having to put together a power point presentation including ALL the top moments of the bride-to-be’s life. No pressure. I’m going to calm her with delicious treats.

That’s just an excuse, really. Our last airbnb guests left the house full of edible goodies, including plenty of juicy peaches and nectarines. An almond tart seems by far the most sensible way to use them up, and luckily DS and I have time to try a few tester slices before dinner tomorrow.

Mama Page has been treating us with this tart for as long as I can remember in the sunny south of France. The first time I made it for friends was about seven years ago, also in Provence, for a picnic party on a boat (bien sur). I was renting a flat with nothing but a “Topchef” mini oven the width of my hand, sans tart tin and sans measuring devices. Despite much of my makeshift foil tart tin remaining stuck to the bottom of the finished product, it was still a rip-roaring success. This is testament to how EASY it is to put together. The base is a biscuity almond crust that you mix in a saucepan and doesn’t involve any rolling pins, and the simple filling is whisked up in a bowl. Here I’ve used nectarines and peaches (courtesy of Airbnb), but I have to admit I prefer it with apricots or figs (or both). Apricots make a deliciously tart tarte, and figs give a satisfying seedy crunchy texture. Try it each and every way and see what you think.

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Et en français...

Summer fruit and almond tart

Serves 6 - 8, takes 25 minutes plus oven time

dessert / baking / summer / autumn / party / easy peasy / showing off / picnic / vegetarian

This really is super simple to put together and is a TOTAL winner. Crumbly, creamy, juicy, almondy, fruity deliciousness.

For the crust

* Unsalted butter - 125g

* Sugar - 90g

* Vanilla essence - 1/4 tsp

* Almond essence - 1/4 tsp

* Plain flour - 180g

* Ground almonds - 2 tbsp

* Nectarines/peaches/apricots/figs - about 750g

For the filling

* Double cream - 100ml

* Egg - 1

* Honey - 1 tbsp

* Almond essence - 1/2 tsp

* Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp

* Plain flour - 1 tbsp

1 greased tart tin (about 30 cm diameter)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Start by making the crust. Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over a low to medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, almond essence and flour and stir with a wooden spoon to combine - it will come together in one ball.

Pop the ball of dough into the prepared tin. Use your fingers to spread the dough evenly across the base and a couple of cm up the side of the tin.

Place in the oven for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the fruit. If using peaches and nectarines, cut each fruit in quarters and remove the stone. For apricots, cut in halves and remove the stone. For figs, simply halve them.

When the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle the ground almonds over the base. This will help keep it crisp.

Mix all the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl until evenly combined.

Next, lay the fruit into the prepared crust. Start in the centre, placing the cut side of the fruit facing up. Work outwards in concentric circles, slightly overlapping the fruit to make fairly snug rings.

Finally, pour the filling evenly over the fruit.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may need to cover the tart towards the end with tin foil if the fruit looks like it is burning. A little caramelisation is fine and good!


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