Latest Letter from N&Q | Summer eating and an apricot tarte recipe

The latest Letter from Nettle & Quince is out on Substack!

Before landing firmly into September, it’s a look back to the summer and how we eat on holiday. Feasts occasionally, but more often simple food that slots in easily with the holiday mode. Quick lunches, tins of fish, many tomatoes, and plenty of tartes, including this superlative and super easy apricot tarte with a lemon verbena syrup — recipe below.

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Apricot tarte with a lemon verbena syrup
I love the combination of verbena and apricot. It was a chance improvisation some years ago and I return to it every year. It’s one of my favourite.

All-butter pie crust, either home made or store-bought
Ripe apricots, enough to fill the pie when cut in half
200g ground almonds
75g sugar

For the syrup
200g sugar
A few sprigs of fresh lemon verbena

Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

To make the syrup, pour the sugar into a small saucepan with just enough water to wet it completely. Heat until the sugar is entirely dissolved and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the sprigs of lemon verbena to infuse at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, assemble the tarte.

Place the pastry in a pie dish (or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper). Dot the pastry with holes (for example with a fork) so that it doesn’t puff up while baking.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground almonds and sugar. Cover the pastry with this mixture. Add the washed apricots, cut in half and stoned, onto the almond/sugar mixture.

Carefully drizzle the syrup over the apricots, taking care not to create big puddles. (If you want to decorate the tarte with verbena leaves, first dip them in the syrup so they crystallise while cooking rather than burn.)

Bake the tarte for 25 to 35 minutes.

Serve cool, with thick cream or just like that.

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