For a different but still very satisfying holiday dessert, enjoy this succulent apricot tart, which is topped with toasted almonds. Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a very good source of vitamin C, and a good source of fiber and potassium. The orange-hued fruit also contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 ounces low-fat cream cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons apricot brandy or reserved apricot juice
3/4 cup apricot all-fruit spread, warmed
4 cans (16-oz. each) apricot halves, drained and juice reserved (if using juice instead of brandy
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
Prep time: 35 min
Cook time: 27 min
Total time: 1 hour, 32 min
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Pie Tart Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening and cream cheese until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a cup, combine the lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of the ice water. Sprinkle over the crumbs and toss with a fork until the crumbs resemble the texture of cottage cheese. Mix in the remaining ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together. Gather the mixture into a ball and press into a thick disk. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out.
For an 11" tart, roll the dough out to a 12" circle. Gently lay the dough in a no-stick tart pan. Firmly press the dough against the bottom and sides of the pan. Fold the edges under. Using a fork, pierce the bottom of the crust all over to prevent it from puffing up during baking. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Notes: To speed preparation, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients as directed, using on/off turns to mix.
Filling Directions: Reduce oven heat to 350°F.
Stir the brandy or apricot juice into the all-fruit spread.
Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of the fruit spread mixture over the prebaked tart crust.
Arrange a single layer of the apricot halves, cut side down, in the crust. Brush the apricots with fruit spread. Continue layering with apricot halves and brushing with fruit spread until they are all used. Sprinkle with the almonds.
Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
Notes: To toast almonds, place them in a dry no-stick skillet over medium heat. Toast the nuts, shaking the skillet often, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fragrant.