Several decades ago I was with the Saucy Dressings’ Chief Taster on the way to a business meeting in Shepherds Market (yes, really, I know it’s famed for other activities) in London. We were hopelessly early, so we went into a Lebanese restaurant – and that was the beginning of my love affair with Lebanese food – almost the best of middle-eastern food in my view.

A few years later, long before Ottolenghi and Comptoir Libanais, I began researching Lebanese food, and this recipe was one which became an absolute family favourite, it’s been a constant stalwart, especially for large parties – you can make it ahead of time and reheat gently. It’s even good cold, served on its own in small slices, with coffee.

 

Recipe for Lebanese chocolate and apricot tart

 

For eight

 

  • 320g/11 oz sweet shortcrust pastry sheet – chilled. Or make your own – go here to find out how
  • 250g/9 oz soft dried apricots
  • 4 tbsp water
  • Juice and zest of a small lemon
  • 150g/5 oz butter
  • 200g/7 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g/⅓ cup golden caster sugar
  • 180ml/¾ cup crème fraîche
  • 3 mangoes, peeled and chopped – optional

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. If you don’t have an aga, put in a thick, flat, baking sheet.
  2. Chop the apricots finely and simmer in a medium-sized saucepan with the lemon juice and water for about five minutes. Blend in the saucepan with a stick blender.
  3. Line a greased, flat pie or quiche dish (ideally a glass one – go here to find out why) with the pastry sheet.
  4. Spread the apricot mixture over the pastry and leave to cool until it just begins to form a skin.
  5. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bain marie.
  6. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, until lighter coloured and frothy.
  7. Mix in the chocolate mixture, keeping it as airy as you can.
  8. Pour the mix over the apricot mixture, and then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. It should still be wobbly, and with a thin crust just forming. If it doesn’t have this crust, put back in the oven for another five minutes.
  9. Sprinkle over the lemon zest.
  10. Serve with the crème fraîche and the fresh mango pieces if you are using.

 

chocolate and apricot tart recipe

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