Autumn dinner party: Dessert - Apricot crème brûlée tart

A fresh, fruity and creamy dessert
Apricot crème brûlée tart
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Moderately easy | Cuts into 10 slices | Ready in 3 hours

For the pastry
* 140g butter
* 100g golden caster sugar
* 250g plain flour
* 25g ground almonds
* 1 egg, beaten

For the filling
* 250g pack ready-to-eat dried apricots
* 175ml sweet dessert wine, such as Sauternes (one small glass)
* 100g golden caster sugar, plus 4 tbsp to top brûlee
* 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
* 284ml carton double cream
* 4 eggs

1. For the pastry, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, mix in flour and almonds then stir in the egg until the pastry just comes together. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. While the pastry is chilling, make the filling. Tip the apricots into a bowl. Bring the wine and the sugar to a rolling boil, then pour over the apricots and leave to steep in the liquid. In the same saucepan (there's no need to wash it) bring the vanilla and cream to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave the cream to infuse.

3. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Roll the pastry to fit a 23cm fluted tart tin and leave it to chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Line the tart case with foil or greaseproof paper and fill the tart with baking beans. Bake the tart for 20 minutes until the edges become biscuity, then remove the beans and foil or greaseproof paper and cook for a few more minutes until the base starts to brown. Remove the tart from the oven and lower the heat to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3.

4. While the tart case is cooking, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Strain the vanilla cream over the eggs and whisk, then drain the apricots and mix the liquid in with the vanilla cream and the eggs to make a custard. Pull the apricots apart and press them sticky side down into the tart case. Pour the custard over the apricots and bake for about 20-30 minutes until the filling is just set. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool.

To serve, scatter the remaining sugar over the tart and blast with a blowtorch to caramelise it, leave it to harden for a minute and cut into slices and serve. As there are so many lovely flavours in the tart already it needs no accompaniment.

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