I have a neighbour, 2 doors down, whose yard is thick with fruit trees.
Crazy, unkempt fruit trees, which are laden with fruit.
I have never been close with this particular neighbour. We say hello on passing, sometimes a chat about the weather, and that is about the extent of it. In fact, I used to be silently annoyed with this man because he lets the nature strip grow to almost knee length. His house is a rundown ramshackle. The fences almost falling down from the pressure of the roots and branches. The amazing fruit trees not tended to.
Last week he dropped off a couple of bags of fruit to us – loquats and apricots. I had judged this man without even knowing him. I was pretty ashamed of myself.
I love food.
However, stone fruits are my absolute favourite. They are a marker for the commencement of summer. I was extremely grateful, as you could imagine. Also quite surprised, considering the weather lately, I thought it had been much too cold for the fruit to ripen.
The gift happened to coincide with a new book I borrowed from the local library, entitled LOVE BAKE NOURISH by Amber Rose. It is gorgeous book, with a healthier take on baked treats – absolutely up my alley. The first recipe to catch my eye was the ‘spelt’ shortcrust pastry. As I had a bag of wholemeal sprouted spelt flour in the pantry (another gift, thank you Sasha!), an apricot tart was a no brainer. Her recipe is refined sugar free, it is sweetened with honey, considerably more nutritious.
I was extremely happy with the outcome, the apricots are definitely interchangeable with other seasonal fruit.
My neighbour told me I have nectarines, plums, chestnuts, oranges and figs to look forward to. I have been longing for a sense of community in our street. Perhaps I was a part of the problem too.
A lesson was learnt that day.
Spelt Shortcrust Pastry
from Love Bake Nourish, Amber Rose
enough to line a 25cm tart case
250g white or wholemeal spelt flour, sifted
pinch of salt
90g cold butter, cubed
pincher two of stevia powder
2 large egg yolks
Pulse the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the stevia and egg yolks, and pulse again until the mixture has come together. It might need a tablespoon of iced water, depending on how thirsty the spelt flour is. Form the mixture into a ball, wrap with cling film, and place in the fridge to rest for an hour.
preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Coarsely grate the pastry into a buttered pastry tin. Press it into the base and sides to form a tart shell. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 12 mins. Remove the paper and baking weights and continue baking for another 5 mins. Remove and cool.
* note, my oven was up a little too high and pastry browned too quickly. Remember it needs to spend more time in the oven to bake the filling, so make sure you keep your eye on it – err on the side of caution.
Apricot Honey + Almond Tart
adapted from Love Bake Nourish, Amber Rose
200g butter, softened
200g ground almonds
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
200g organic honey
Finely grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
400g apricots, halved and pitted
1 spelt shortcrust pastry tart shell, see above
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Cream the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, eggs, honey, lemon zest and juice and mix again until thoroughly combined.
Pour the mixture into the tart case and smooth over with a spatula. Press the apricots evenly into the mixture and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from over and cool on a wire rack.
I served mine with some creamy organic yoghurt, however creme fraiche or double cream would be just as delicious.
serves 8 – 12