I’m so lucky this week to be taking some time off work, and I’m doubly lucky that my awesome sister Lindsey is visiting me all week long!
Me and Linds in 1987. Twinsies!
And, Lindsey more recently. Ain’t she pretty? She’s got the coolest tattoos.
Linds happens to be vegan, which makes it quite difficult for her to find baked goods that she can eat without getting sick from any sneaky dairy ingredients. While she was visiting, I figured we’d make a tart that’s vegan!
A while back, I spied some interesting fruit at the grocery store. Black velvet apricots. Have you ever heard of those? I hadn’t. They have skin that’s bluish-purple and fuzzy, but the flesh inside is still golden-colored like a regular apricot. I bought a few and wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I chucked them into the freezer (which may not have been the best idea) and waited for some inspiration. FYI, frozen apricots are nobody’s friend. They sorta break down and the flesh inside gets mushy, and though they still taste good, they won’t be good for anything but cooking. Like, say, in a flaky butter-free tart shell. With some sweet dark cherries. Let’s make it!
vegan cherry + apricot tart
(yields 1 – 9″ tart)
(crust recipe adapted from pastry chef Winnona Herr
of District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, Phoenix)
2 cups (256 g) all purpose flour
1 cup (8 oz) Earth Balance Buttery Spread
(use regular butter if you aren’t concerned with dairy)
1 tsp (7 g) kosher salt
2 Tbs (30 g) sugar
1/4 cup (32 g) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (65 g) water
extra water for brushing on crust
raw/turbinado sugar for sprinkling on crust
12 oz bag frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and drained
6 fresh apricots, sliced in half and pits removed
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Begin by preheating your oven to 350. Grab a 9″ fluted tart pan and set it on a foil-lined baking sheet and put it somewhere out of the way.
It’s tart crust time! Start by mixing your 2 cups of flour, salt, and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the Earth Balance (or butter, if you’d rather go the traditional route) and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers until it’s damp looking and crumbly — it’s okay if there’s a few chunks of fat left at this point. In a small bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water until it’s smooth, and stir this into the crumbly flour mixture with a wooden spoon until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed.
Dump this soft dough onto a well floured surface, patting it out and flouring the surface of the dough as well. Roll it out with a rolling pin to a circle about 12 inches across. Carefully lift the dough circle and place it gently into the waiting tart pan, pressing it together if any cracks form. Press the dough well into the bottom edge of the pan and using your thumb, roll the excess dough off over the top edge of the pan. Press the dough into the sides of the pan and flatten the dough level with the top of the pan so that there’s a uniform, flat crust edge along the top of the tart pan. Gather up the remaining scraps of dough into a ball, and roll it out into a rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, slice the rectangle into 12 long strips for the lattice crust and set them aside.
Set the formed crust to the side, and let’s get the filling going, dude! You don’t mind if I call you dude, do you? Awesome, thanks.
For the tart filling, place the halved apricots in a bowl along with the drained cherries. Sprinkle on the sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch and stir well. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and pour the filling into the prepared crust.
To form the lattice crust, lay 6 strips of dough evenly across the top of the tart. Starting from the top, pull back every other strip of dough and lay one of the remaining dough strips down perpendicular over the strips that are still on the filling. Next, start from the bottom and pull back the other three alternating strips of dough and place another remaining dough strip down. Continue in this way, alternately lifting three strips of dough and arranging another dough strip down until they’re all evenly spaced across the surface. Once all the dough strips are down, remove the excess dough from each strip by pressing down on them at the edge of the tart pan.
With a pastry brush, dampen the strips of dough on the top and sprinkle on a hefty amount of raw/turbinado sugar. Bake the tart on a foil-lined baking sheet for 70 minutes at 350 degrees. When it’s done, the filling should be bubbling and thickened, and the crust will be pale golden brown.
Let the tart cool completely before removing it from the pan! Place the tart on a plate, slice it into wedges and voila, it’s ready to eat! You can chill the tart before serving, but it’s equally good at room temperature. This fruity tart is super good with a scoop of soy ice cream on top, or regular vanilla if you’re not doing the vegan thing. Any extras of the tart can be wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled for a few days. Enjoy!