Requires: 24cm round, loose-bottom metal tart tin, plastic wrap (cling film), rolling pin
To make the home-made apricot jam, cut each apricot in half and extract the stones. Roughly chop the apricots and place into a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and using a slotted spoon to remove any scum that rises to the surface. Allow the jam to cool completely.
Note: You may wish to complete this step days ahead and refrigerate apricot jam in a glass jar. Alternatively, use good quality bought apricot jam.
In a food processor (with the metal blade inserted): Process the flour, butter and salt until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Mix until the dough just starts to come together.
Alternatively, by hand: Combine the flour, butter and salt in a bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Mix by hand until the dough just starts to come together.
Note: 00 is a powder-fine Italian type of flour. It is made from soft wheat varieties, and is frequently used in Italian desserts and pastas. 00 flour is available in most supermarkets, Italian food stores and gourmet delicatessens.
Tip: If mixing by hand, remove the butter 20 minutes beforehand to soften slightly.
Turn the pastry onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and lightly knead to bring together. Gather the dough with your hands to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 170°C conventional oven/150°C fan forced (338° Fahrenheit/Gas 3).
Place the flaked almonds in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake, shaking the tray occasionally, until the almonds have turned a light golden brown (approximately 5-7 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside.
Grease a 24cm round, loose-bottom metal tart tin with butter. Turn the dough onto a large sheet of non-stick baking paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a thickness of 7-8mm. It should be large enough to fit the base and sides of the tin. Flour the rolling pin well and gently roll up the sweet pastry dough around the rolling pin. Unroll the sweet pastry dough into the metal tart tin. Trim the edge by running the rolling pin across the top of the tin, then gently push the pastry a little above the edge of the tin. Use a fork to prick the base all over.
Spread the cooled apricot jam on top of the sweet pastry in the base of the metal tart tin. Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top of the apricot jam. Brush the sweet pastry with milk. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the sweet pastry is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the tart from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack for a minimum of 2 hours.
The Crostata (tart) of homemade apricot jam and flaked almonds can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days – Buon appetito.
Milk for brushing sweet pastry|50g flaked almonds