Today is my 31st birthday. Please consider this incredibly beautiful and delicious Apricot, Plum and Almond Tart my version of a birthday cake.
Before writing this post, I went back to read the post from my 30th birthday, because this blog is actually just a personal diary that I’ve given the entire internet the key to. On this day last year, I resolved to do away with self-doubt and decided to enter my thirties with optimism.
I’m pleased to report that I kept that resolution. I bet on myself and turns out that 30 was my lucky number.
Since my last birthday, I started in a new job that I absolutely love, working with people who make me laugh, challenge me, and support my success. All that cumulated in a recent promotion.
One of the biggest changes in the past year was that I moved out of my parents basement and bought my first home. Over the past 11 months, I’ve made it my own. Now, when people walk into my home, they say it feels like me – my bedroom with it’s statement wallpaper, my custom bookshelves that my dear friend generously made for me that are stacked floor to ceiling with my cookbooks and uncommon goods, and of course, my remodelled kitchen – the heart of the home.
Owning my own home has given me a tremendous sense of independence; in spite of feeling slightly nauseous whenever I think about how much debt I have signed myself onto.
I took some time off from the rat race that is the online dating circuit since last August. It gave me more space to focus on myself, my friendships, and my blog. I’ve recently dipped my toe back into the dating pool and feel like I’m in a better headspace to really make a go of it.
Part of putting the focus back on myself, instead of Tinder fuckboys, went into my health and fitness. After 18 months of near total sloth I got my lazy ass back to the gym.
With the help and accountability of my faithful gym partner, I managed to develop an addiction to Greco – the high intensity interval training circuit program. Every lunch-hour I put on my best Lululemon leggings and we march down Sparks Street to get screamed at by some psychopath with a hard-on for burpees. Some cultures might consider it an obscure form of torture with a bumpin’ soundtrack, but it really does work wonders for the abs.
Of course, it wasn’t all rainbows and bunny rabbits. There were fights with friends and blowouts with family, loneliness, anxiety about the unexpected costs of home ownership, and the occasional overindulgence in alcohol or Art-is-In pizza. But, on the whole, there were a lot of big wins that outweigh the challenges.
The net effect of the year, as I look back on it, has been a marked uptick in my confidence. I finally feel like, in my thirtieth year, I found myself. I’m where I need to be, I love the woman I’ve become, and I’m so grateful for the beautiful souls I have the privilege of calling friends.
So, with that, I’d like to end with a word of thanks for everyone who helped me get to this good place – I wouldn’t have been able to make this journey alone and I hope you’ll be at my side for the road ahead.
Apricot, Plum & Almond Tart
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup toasted unsalted almonds
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter 1 stick, cut into chunks
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 5 ripe medium-size apricots pitted and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into chunks
- 2 to 3 ripe apricots
- 4 to 5 ripe yellow plums
- ¼ cup apricot jam
- 2 tsp amaretto
- 1 tbsp sliced almonds
- ¾ cup whipping cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine flour, almonds, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse until almonds are finely chopped. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Whisk egg yolk with water. With the motor running, add through feed tube. Tip dough mixture will be crumblinto a lightly buttered 8-inch (20-cm) round tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough into bottom and up sides of pan. Prick all over with a fork and place in freezer for 30 minutes.
Line tart with parchment and fill with pie weights (or dried beans). Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes; remove weights and parchment and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely.
To make curd, add apricots to a blender; purée. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Measure out ½ cup. Reserve remainder for another purpose if you wish. Combine apricot purée with lemon juice, egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Using a flexible spatula, cook for 6 to 7 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly and being sure to get into all the corners of the pot. Remove from heat, add butter, and whisk until glossy and combined. Scrape into tart shell and smooth; chill for at least 2 hours (or as long as overnight).
To finish, cut apricots and plums in halves and wedges; discard pits. Arrange decoratively over tart.
Combine apricot jam with desired liquid in a small pot over medium heat; whisk until liquefied. Brush over fruit; garnish with almond slices and chill 1 hour longer.
When ready to serve, beat cream and icing sugar with an electric mixer to medium peaks. Cut tart into 6 wedges and serve each with a dollop of sweetened cream.
Recipe from: St. Onge, Christopher. “Apricot, Plum & Almond Tart.” Food & Drink. Summer 2019.
Note: I used an 11″ tart pan and multiplied all the ingredient quantities by 1.5x.