Season: Summer | Active Time: 40 minutes (not including making the Brioche Dough) | Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes, plus time to cool | Difficulty: 3 (Moderate)
The window for good apricots in the summertime is short, and even at the height of the season you might get a mealy dud or two, but a peak apricot is transcendent. I’d argue that a baked peak apricot is even better. I love how jammy and intensely sweet-tart they become. This massive tart is a spin on a version I made in pastry class in culinary school and a wonderful showcase for apricots. It’s sweet enough to be dessert, especially served with vanilla ice cream, but it’s also a superb breakfast pastry—like eating a piece of buttery brioche with apricot jam!
Special Equipment: Stand mixer (for the Brioche Dough; optional, but recommended)
½ recipe Brioche Dough (this page), chilled ①
All-purpose flour, for rolling out
½ cup crème fraîche (4.2 oz / 120g)
1 large egg yolk (0.5 oz / 15g)
½ cup sugar (3.5 oz / 100g)
16 fresh apricots (about 3¼ lb / 1.5kg), pitted and cut into ½-inch wedges ②
1 large egg, beaten
½ recipe Honey Almond Syrup (this page)
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Roll out the brioche dough: Roll out the brioche dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, dusting with more flour as needed to prevent sticking, into a thin, even rectangle that measures about 16 × 12 inches (you can also stretch it a bit with your fingertips). ③ Slide the parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet.
Reinforce the edges of the tart: Fold the edges of the brioche inward to create a reinforced wall that will act as the border of the tart. Press all the way around to make sure the dough sticks to itself.
Let the dough rise: Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let it sit at room temperature until the dough is slightly puffed across the surface and the border springs back but leaves a slight imprint when poked with a floured finger, 25 to 35 minutes.
Preheat the oven: Meanwhile, arrange an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
Assemble the tart: Whisk the crème fraîche, yolk, and ¼ cup of the sugar (1.8 oz / 50g) in a small bowl until smooth. ④ Drizzle the mixture all across the surface of the dough, using the back of a spoon to gently and evenly spread it all the way to the borders.
Arrange the apricot wedges in tight rows on top of the crème fraîche mixture, pressing down gently (you might not use all the wedges if the apricots are large). Brush the beaten egg all along the borders. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup sugar (1.8 oz / 50g) evenly across the entire surface of the tart.
Bake the tart: Bake the tart until the apricots start to brown at the points and are jammy and nearly collapsed and the brioche is a deep golden brown around the borders, 30 to 35 minutes.
Soak with syrup, cool, and serve: Remove from the oven and immediately and liberally brush the honey almond syrup over the apricots and around the edges of the tart. As the tart cools, about every 10 minutes, continue to brush it with more syrup until you’ve used it all. Slice the tart into squares and serve with vanilla ice cream.
The tart, covered and stored at room temperature, will keep up to 3 days but is best served the day it’s made.
① I recommend making a full recipe of Brioche Dough even though this recipe only calls for a half quantity to make the tart. Bake the leftover dough into a loaf (instructions on this page) or use it to make Pigs in a Brioche Blanket (this page) or Brioche Twists with Coriander Sugar (this page).
② Buy your apricots several days in advance so they can ripen on your countertop. When they’re ripe, they should smell super fragrant and feel firm with a slight give when squeezed. Give the apricots a taste—if yours are very sweet, consider reducing the sugar by 2 tablespoons. You can also substitute an equal weight of another stone fruit, like nectarines or plums, for the apricots.
③ The dough will seem quite thin when you work it into the dimensions specified in the recipe, but it bakes up surprisingly tall in the oven!
④ Don’t mix the crème fraîche, yolk, and sugar ahead of time—allowing it to sit will thin the texture of the crème fraîche and cause it to run across the fruit during baking. Only mix it right before assembling.