Prune and almond tart

Paul Merrett uses prunes from the Agen region of southern France in his well-known dessert recipe
By Paul Merrett
Prune and almond tart
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the crème anglaise

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 200 ml milk
  • 50 ml double cream
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 1 tbsp armagnac

For the sweet pastry

  • 350 g butter, at room temperature
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50 ml water
  • 500 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the frangipane

  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g icing sugar
  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 12 Agen prunes, stoned and pitted

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

2. For the sweet pastry: in a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, then add the egg yolks. Beat until well-combined.

3. Add a splash of the water, then mix in the flour. Pour in the remaining water and beat for 2 minutes until a dough is formed. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness on a floured work surface.

4. For the frangipane: mix together the butter and the icing sugar until pale and creamy. Add the ground almonds and flour and mix well. Slowly incorporate the beaten eggs into the mixture and mix until well-combined.

5. Line a 1-inch tall and 8-inch wide pastry case with the sweet pastry and fill two-thirds up with the frangipane. Arrange the prunes into the frangipane so you have a pattern like a clock face.

6. Bake the tart in the oven for 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown on the edges and the frangipane is cooked through.

7. For the crème anglais: beat the yolks and sugar together in a large bowl.

8. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil. Halve the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds. Add both the seeds and the pods to the milk and cream. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

9. Whisk the milk and cream into the egg and sugar mixture and then return to the pan. Cook slowly under a low heat until the mixture thickens, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, for about 6-7 minutes. At this point its important to not let the liquid return to the boil or it will scramble.

10. Once the mixture has thickened, pass the liquid through a sieve and allow to cool. Add the Armagnac.

11. Serve the prune and almond tart with a drizzle of crème anglais

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