Apricot-Raspberry Marzipan Tart

Of the many cheery little fruits that are all up in our area this time of year, I can't think of any more adorable than apricots. I mean, they fit right in that little crook of your curled palm like a wee baby chick. And with their sweet fragrance and soft skin the color of a glowing sunset, all shades of orange and blushing pink fading into each other, well, can you blame me for nuzzling a few under my nose and, okay, maybe even cooing a little in the produce section last week? Don't answer that. Here, have a big slice of this delicious Apricot-Raspberry Marzipan Tart to distract you from that completely rhetorical question.

I am always completely enchanted by the magical marriage of fruits and nuts. It's sort of mind-blowing how some flavors are just so naturally perfect together, isn't it? Like plums with walnuts, peaches and pecans, pears and apricots with almonds. The way the acid and sugar of certain fruits play with the oils and earthy crunch of nuts--it's natural goodness on such an other-worldly level, you can practically hear Mother Nature somewhere in the distance going, "Ha! Awesome, right? I know! I made that up, y'all! Boo ya!"

But this tart is so much more than a delicious piece of fruit and a handful of nuts when you're feeling snacky (which I hear some virtuous celebrity people indeed consider a snack--I've read this more than once in the pages of Us Weekly while clearing an entire bag of Pop Chips). This tart is cute little apricots, sprightly raspberries and almonds plus nutty pastry and a tweedy, crumbly topping with hunks of sweet almond paste woven through it. Now that's my kind of snack, Angelina.

If you need an extra little push to try this gem of a recipe, consider this: if you've been baking along with POC recently, maybe you made that pretty little Apple-Frangipane Galette from a few weeks ago. And maybe you bought a pretty standard seven-ounce tube of almond paste to make it, but only used four ounces in the recipe, so like me, you stored the remaining three ounces in the refrigerator. And maybe this recipe amazingly calls for three ounces of almond paste! And maybe I am an enabler. A wacky, apricot-nuzzling enabler. Enjoy!

Apricot-Raspberry Marzipan Tart
Adapted from Ripe for Dessert

When making the filling, be sure to add the raspberries last, as they have a tendency to fall apart when they're really ripe. If yours seem particularly fragile, just dot them on top of the apricots before sprinkling on the topping.

Serves 8

For the dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk

For the marzipan topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (3 ounces) almond paste, crumbled
1/4 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

For the filling:

12 to 14 medium apricots (about 1 pound), halved, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces fresh raspberries

To make the dough, place the flour, almonds, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and process until the dough comes together--it may look too dry at first, but keep the processor running and it will come together.

Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Pierce 16 times with the tines of a fork. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and chill for at least 1 hour.

When the tart shell is completely chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prebake the tart shell for 18 minutes, or until its a deep golden brown. Large air bubbles will form in the crust as it bakes, so halfway through baking, press the dough down with the back of a spatula. Cool the prebaked shell on a wire rack. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.

To make the almond topping, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, crumbled almond paste and almonds. Add the butter and work it into the mixture with your fingertips until the butter pieces are about the size of corn kernels. Set aside.

For the filling, toss the apricots with the cornstarch and granulated sugar. Gently fold in the raspberries.

To assemble the tart, spread the filling evenly over the crust and sprinkle the topping over it. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the topping is slightly golden and the juices are bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fruit, PieShauna Sever