This vegan and gluten-free tart recipe can be made using whatever fruit is in season, but if you can find apricots, I highly suggest them. We technically had a "cold" spring in Southern California this past season, which has meant a delayed and slightly longer apricot season than in many years. I was able to find some amazing apricots this last week at the market, even though it's mid-July! They won't be around for long, so if you do desire to try this with the golden gems, make this soon.
What I love most about this tart is that it is not too sweet (the almond marzipan layer is made with a touch of maple syrup, rather than traditional powdered or cane sugar). You can use the crust recipe for savory tarts and omit the coconut sugar. A food processor is essential for this recipe, and make preparation quite quick.
Prep time: 55m | Serves 8–10
For maple marzipan:
1 cup blanched almonds* (see note below)
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup filtered water
1½ teaspoons almond extract
2½ cups + 2 Tablespoons almond meal
¼ pound vegan butter (I recommend using Miyoko's Kitchen butter)
2–3 Tablespoons coconut sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
1½ teaspoons ground cardamom (optional)
Pinch of salt
For fruit topping:
¾ pound apricots (or fruit of your choice)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place all marzipan ingredients in food processor and blend until an even paste is achieved. You will likely need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides a few times. Once marzipan is complete, transfer it to a small bowl and set aside. Wash and dry the food processor thoroughly.
Place all crust ingredients in the food processor and turn it on. Let the machine run until all ingredients have combined to form one "ball" of dough. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan and use your fingers to press the dough evenly into the pan to form a crust (I like to use a sheet of parchment to help press the dough so it won't stick to my fingers). Use a fork to prick some small holes into the bottom of the crust to allow steam to release while pre-baking the crust (alternatively, you can use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the crust – google if you're curious how to do that :)) For easiest handling, place the prepared tart pan on a larger baking tray. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes until it just starts to turn a slight touch of brown. Some parts may still look a little doughy, and that is fine. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool slightly. While the crust is cooling, prepare your fruit by slicing it evenly (or, for smaller apricots or fruits like cherries, just cut in half).
When crust is cool, spread the maple marzipan in an even layer in the bottom of the crust using a spatula or your fingers (again, parchment is really helpful here if you use your hands, which I recommend). Then arrange the sliced fruit on top of the marzipan layer in any pattern you like. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until the crust is golden and fruit is has softened slightly. Cool tart completely before removing the outer ring of the tart pan, then you're ready to slice and serve.
To blanch your own almonds:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add almonds, then immediately drain and rinse with cool water. Use your fingers to pop the skins off. This is one of my most favorite meditative cooking practices...and kids LOVE helping with this!