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Vicki Green's Garden

Vicki Green's garden is one of the neatest and most immaculate gardens I've seen and it is a showcase for beautifully grown plants as well as art objects (she is a glass artist). The property was once wall-to-wall grass and now just a central portion is devoted to the green. A long pathway leads you around the perimeter of the garden adorned with lush plantings. Vicki is a master at pruning and her technique reminds me of the way Michael does it. She has trained many of her "shrubs" into small trees, such at the waxleaf privet and elderberry. A Wax Leaf Privet ( Ligustrum japonicum ) trained into an attractive small tree. I was taken aback by the size of the plants, some of which I grow, and my mind was racing. Driving up, I was immediately wowed by her 'Golden Spirit' Smoke Bush ( Cotinus coggygria ) although now I do recall seeing a very large on 117th St. However, this one is the most beautiful I've seen -   I also was surprised to see how large her 

Apricot Tart


These rainy, cold, blustery days call for some baking!

Apricot Tart

The filling, divine enough to eat as a breakfast treat, can be made days ahead and refrigerated. I made this three days before baking the tart and stored it in the refrigerator.

Filling

12 ounces dried apricots
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Optional: 1 TBS. rum, cognac or kirsch (I used kirsch)
Optional: 2 TBS thinly sliced toasted almonds (I did not use

Soak the apricots overnight in the water.
Place the soaked apricots and water in a heavy saucepan. Add the sugar and mix.
Over high heat, stir the mixture until it comes to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover, raise the heat to high again. Stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and the apricots fall apart. This will take a while (almost 20 minutes for me). You can also slice the apricots as you do it with your spoon.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and the optional liquor and almonds.

Pastry


*2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
* 1/2 cup ice water

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When ready to use, roll out on a floured board. Line a pie pan (or tart pan) with half the dough and set aside the remainder to use as a top crust.


Glaze (applied to top of tart before baking)


Beat together:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water

Apricot Glaze (applied after baking and tart has cooled)

1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 tsp water

Bring the mixture to a boil and brush over the top of the tart.

Baking

Preheat the oven to 375 and butter a 9 1/2 x 3/4 inch flan ring. Place the flan ring on an ungreased cookie sheet. Adjust your oven racks with the bottom rack one third from the bottom and the second rack in the center of the oven.




Spoon the apricot mixture into the pastry shell. Cover with the other half of the pastry. Pinch the two crusts together around the perimeter with your fingers. Cut off the dough that rises over the top of the pan. Cut some slits along the top of the crust. Apply the glaze with a pastry brush. 





The additional dough can be used for decorative strips or other embellishments (I have a little dough cutter that cuts in the shape of leaves - really cute!)

Bake on the bottom rack for 30 minutes at 375. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and move the tart to the center rack. Bake an additional 20-30 minutes until the top is browned slightly.

After baking, carefully remove the tart from the flan ring and allow to cool.

Brush with apricot glaze. Serve with vanilla ice cream!




Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Comments

  1. Is there anything you can't do? :) Looks amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This recipe brought to mind a delicious recipe that my Mother-in-Law used to make, Apricot Pie. It too was as beautiful as it was delicious.

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  3. I love the fall colors in your previous post, and I love the look of that apricot tart, including the little leaves! It would be perfect for Thanksgiving.

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