Mmm . . . Canada: Apricot almond tart (Sugar High Friday)
My heart sang when I learned that Domestic Goddess was hosting Sugar High Friday with the theme Mmm . . . Canada.Â I spent four years in Toronto, and my California Wine client took me to cities across the country hosting wine tastings. Â Tough gig, I know.Â Through my time there I developed a deep affection for Canada, and some of my dearest friends are still there.Â
And although my visits to Canada are now mostly limited to Toronto, I still remember the charming St. Paulâ€™s Church in Halifax, the breathtaking view of the Rockies from Calgary and landing in Vancouver at dusk with the sun shimmering on the Pacific.
And of course the food was an adventure too, with Montreal bagels, Ontario ice wine and Saturday visits to the St. Lawrence Market that resulted in some of the best dinner parties Iâ€™ve cooked up.
One of my favorite food memories started with a weekend visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake with my friend Wendy.Â We drove in to visit her mum, and spent the sunny summer afternoon strolling the main street.Â I picked up some vintage linens, a Royal Canadian Mountie Christmas ornament and my traditional stock up at Greaves, a store that can only be described as a jam boutique, where I bought what seemed like every flavor.Â After gushing about the Greaves apricot jam, Wendyâ€™s mum went to the basement and returned with a jar of her own homemade apricot preserves, made from the tree in the back yard. I ate that jam every day until it was gone.
So this apricot tart is toÂ celebrate my Canadian friends and all the joy — and delicious tastes –Â theyâ€™ve brought me through the years.Â Salut.
Apricot almond tart
1 cup whole almonds
Â½ cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Â½ teaspoon salt
1Â½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, well chilled, cut into small cubes
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup apricot preserves
Lightly toast the almonds in a dry sautÃ© pan over medium high heat, shaking the pan to keep the almonds moving to protect them from burning, about three to five minutes.Â
Pour the nuts into a food processor, add the sugar and pulse until finely ground.Â Add the flour and salt and pulse until well mixed.Â Add the butter and process until mixed, about 10 seconds, then add eggs and process for a few seconds until dough forms a ball.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap.Â Knead once or twice to incorporate any crumbs.Â Wrap up the dough, shape into a flat disk and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Â Roll out the dough and line an 8-inch tart shell.Â This is a soft dough, almost a cookie dough, so it may be easier to just tamp it in with your hands. Â Spread the apricot preserves into the tart shell.Â Bake until crust is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.