When I was a sprout, my parents dutifully deposited me at the door to Mrs. Abrahamson's Sunday school class every Sunday morning. Mrs. Abrahamson was the picture of the soft and gentle Methodist maven. She came complete with a bag of multi-colored ribbons for awarding when we wee folk learned our Bible verses, a Brownie camera for taking adorable pictures of us as we completed various class activities, a large box of graham crackers and two cans of apricot nectar for our Sunday school snack (kiddie communion). Golly, she was a peach! I guess I can't say she was an apricot of a gal, but she was my first exposure to apricots.
Apricots - like little fuzzy peaches with a completely different taste experience! The flesh is more velvet than slipperiness, the juices are heavier and tarter ... and when they are plentiful, they are worthy of a pie or tart. I find that most folks pass them over when they hit the markets here in my rural backwater. That's such a shame, for they are such a treat.
Which brings me to this picture from my Frenchified cookbook that I have been obsessing over for the past several days, since completing my Random Recipes post for Dom. Couldn't you just dive into that photo? It just looks so sweet and countrified! Too boot, the painted cupboard is almost exactly like this sweet little cupboard that I picked up years (30 or so) ago when I was renovating a bedroom for Sprout Kate ... amazing and true! The pitcher is very like my favorite Salmon Falls pottery. The tart is calling my name! Must make and gobble!
So, here we go with picture perfect apricots that cost a freaking fortune, but who's counting? A soft, buttery Pâte Brisée au
Spend twenty minutes artfully arranging tiny little apricot quarters in concentric circles around the tart. Lick your fingers before picking up the camera! Lick the camera to get the stickiness off the various buttons and hand clasps. Rationalize by thinking that the tip of the tongue won't drip water into the inner mechanisms of the poor thing the way a sponge or sopping paper towel might.
Bake the lovely tart and try not to hang on the oven door waiting for the first of the sweet apricot scent to waft out from the oven's vent. Instead, clean up the mess, de-stickify your fingers and the camera and choose a perfect plate for this masterpiece of Frenchified sweetness.
And then, plate a warm tart, make a slow cooker full of French beef shanks stewed in red wine and vegetables, pour more red wine for sipping, brew some strong coffee and make pretend that you have walked Paris all day and have found a little 'hole in the wall' bistro that will serve up a heart-warming dinner.
Later, light candles and put on some Melody Gardot (if you have not heard of her, you MUST put your headphones on and hit this link. DO IT). Practice a Bible verse ... something about man and bread alone. Thank the Lord above that you found that Frenchified cookbook!