Friday 8 June 2012

Apricot bastard flan

Apricot, almond, rum puff pastry flan

What do you call a pie that has spawned from three recipes and a dose of your own imagination? Certain chefs would brand it - My Self Satisfied Apricot Tart or Awesome Apricot Aphrodisiac - because superlatives and expedient alliteration are all part of the armoury of food writing. 

I love writing and I love food but I tire of the generic approaches - the fashionable fixations (see I'm doing it too!) of food writing. All has become about lifestyle and as we pile our way through cookbooks, blogs and TV shows we are presented with a highly manicured, manically mediated perfection. 

There are plenty of rough and ready scenes in bucolic surroundings. TV chefs seem to be endlessly on the road in an array of iconic motors, setting up field kitchens with little more than a primus stove or a camp fire to produce eye watering manifestations before our eyes. The film editing is so sophisticated that never for a moment do we feel that we have been duped and that the food stylist has stepped in and retossed that salad or replated that food - no dribbles, no mess - an antiseptic approach. It's like watching the card sharks on Oxford Street - a carefully rehearsed performance and we the unwitting public suck it up. In our desperate desire to make our small and often imperfect lives somehow closer to the primped concoctions offered up.

So I give you another recipe - not as an example of my far from perfect life but as a possibility, an opportunity, a token of conviviality. This is real food made in a modest kitchen but made with imagination, love and care and not a stylist in sight.

Apricot Bastard Flan

Roll out a sheet of puff pastry really thin - 3mm the pastry is there as a carrier for the flan.
Press into a loose bottom baking tin and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cream together 100g of butter and 100g caster sugar until white and fluffy.
Lightly beat 2 eggs in a jug and then add slowly to the butter and sugar.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of dark rum, 100g ground almonds and finally 20g of sifted plain flour.

Take the flan from the fridge and spread apricot jam all over the pastry.
Spoon and spread the almond cream over the jam.
Halve and destone the apricots (I used 11) and the lay cut side sown as close together as you can covering the cream.

Put in a preheated oven at 200 C for about 12 minutes and then turn oven down to 180 C until the top is golden brown approx 15 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool a little before removing from baking tin.
The pie was soft and moist with crispy pastry and served with Greek yoghurt.

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