I’ve been looking at a tin of apricots in our store cupboard for about 2 years. Every time I opened the door it whispered, “use me, use me”, but I always reached for something else. But not this week – it was finally the apricots’ time!
I decided on a recipe from Michel Roux’s Desserts: A Lifelong Passion and made an apricot dartois.
Dartois is traditionally two layers of puff pastry with a sandwiched layer of frangipane or jam. It can occasionally contain a savoury filling.
It’s quite a simple recipe – especially if you’re using ready-made puff pastry – and the pastry cutting is very straightforward too. Don’t be put off by the precision! The amount of frangipane made in the given recipe is HUGE! I halved the recipe (what’s half of 5 eggs? I just used 3 medium-sized ones) it still made half a kilo of the stuff. I set aside the 150 grams needed for the recipe then portioned up the rest into small lidded tubs and froze it all for use at a later date.
The resulting dartois is very attractive and very delicious. I don’t think it would look out of place in a French patisserie’s shop window!
I used tinned apricots, but peaches, pears, plums or figs also work really well. If you’ve got fresh fruit, you can easily poach it beforehand in syrup.
Serve warm or cold with a fruit coulis, cream or ice cream.
- 250g/9oz butter, at room temperature
- 500g/1lb 2oz 'tant pour tant' (equal quantities of ground almonds and icing sugar sifted together)
- 50g/2oz plain flour
- 5 eggs
- 50ml/2 fl oz rum (optional)
- 1 500g pack of ready-made puff pastry (or you could make your own)
- 150g/5oz frangipane
- eggwash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 soup spoon of milk and a pinch of salt)
- 1 tin apricot halves, drained (or you could poach your own)
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Beat the butter until very soft
- Still beating, add the tant pour tant and flour
- Add the eggs - one at a time - beating well between each addition until the frangipane is light an homogeneous
- Stir in the rum
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll 225g/8oz of the pastry into a 27cm x 12cm/11" x 5" rectangle
- Roll this pastry around the rolling pin, then unroll it on to a baking sheet lightly dampened with cold water. Prick the pastry with a fork
- Using a spoon, spread the frangipane along the length of the pastry leaving a clear 2cm/¾" border on either side
- Brush these pastry borders with eggwash
- Pat dry the apricots and arrange them on the frangipane
- Roll out the remaining pastry into a 27cm x 13cm/11" x 5½" rectangle
- Fold the pastry in half lengthways without applying pressure
- Make incisions down the length of the pastry about every 4mm/⅙" with the heel of a chef's knife, leaving a 2cm/¾" strip intact on the two outside edges
- Unfold the pastry into its original shape and drape it over the rolling pin and unroll it on to the apricot-filled rectangle
- Lightly press the edges together with your fingertips and refrigerate the dartois for 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/345ºF/gas mark 4
- Using a chef's knife, trim off about 3mm/⅛" in pastry along the length of the rectangle
- Delicately and sparingly brush the top of the pastry with egg wash
- Liberally brush the sides with more egg wash
- With the tip of a small, sharp knife, make light, diagonal incisions in the borders, then along the edges
- Bake for 25 minutes. Increase the temperature to 195ºC/380ºF/gas mark 6, dust the dartois with icing sugar and return it to the oven for 1-2 minutes, or place it under a hot salamander/grill for a few seconds until beautifully glazed