fresh mint finely chopped plus few leaves to decorate
apricot extract For extra flavour – optional
desiccated coconut plus extra to sprinkle over
almond flakes to sprinkle over
1. Preheat the oven to 170°/160°C fan assisted or 325°F and grease a tart tin or pan. I used a rectangular tin (36cm x 12cm x 2.5 cm) 14“ x 4.75“ x 0.98". I have lined this with parchment paper.
2. To make the pastry start by placing the flour into a bowl and mix together the cold cubed butter, icing sugar and the pinch of salt until it resembles a breadcrumb texture. Mix in the egg yolks and the yoghurt or the buttermilk. Mix further until it begins to come together. Take out on a floured surface and knead for a further two minutes.
3. Place in the fridge for a good 10 minutes to chill.
4. While the pastry is chilling nicely in the fridge let’s prepare the filling by beating together the cream cheese (I used full fat Philadelphia cheese) and the sugar until pale and smooth.
5. Add one egg at the time while continuing to mix, a pinch of salt, apricot extract, the finely chopped mint, the ground almonds and mix further at a lower speed until it is of a nice consistency.
6. Take the pastry out of the fridge and place on a floured or oiled surface. Using a rolling pin roll the pastry into a rectangle until it gets to approximately 3-4 mm thick.
7. Transfer the pastry into the tin, arrange it nicely and gently prick the bottom using a fork.
8. Place another parchment sheet over the pastry, put the baking beans slightly pushing those around to spread evenly. Blind bake it in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes at 170°C/325F.
9. When ready, take the pastry out of the oven, carefully remove the baking beans (caution, they are hot!. I do this operation by picking the 4 corners of the parchment paper. Allow it to rest for 5-10 mins.
10. Pour the filling mixture in spreading it uniformly and add approx 7 halved apricots arranged nicely on top. I used canned halves and these were on the smaller side.
11. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 170°C gas mark 4 until it get to a golden colour or becomes lightly brown (just as I like it).
12. Once baked, take out of the oven, allow it to cool slightly. Sprinkle some almond flakes and coconut over, decorate with some mint leaves and serve.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. And since Jamie really doesn't like the almond flavoring, I also came up with some other flavor variations that would be just as yummy - Chocolate Chip Almond (which is what I made), Butter Pecan, Vanilla Bean, Lemon or Lemon Blueberry, and Pumpkin Pound Cake
Add the eggs and whisk followed by the flour, baking powder and finally the milk. Officially whole nuts are not recommended until kids are fairly old because of the choking risk (although the risk with flaked almonds is likely to be much lower)