Upside-Down Apricot Tartlets with Muscovado


Apart from the very practical home-cooking books I also buy those written by famous – usually French – chefs or confectioners with breathtaking, state-of-the-art photos and incredibly long and scary recipes. I buy them not only to leaf through the glossy pages, dreaming of sophisticated dishes and admiring the masters’ skills, but also to find some ideas, tips or bits of recipes I could introduce into my cooking. This is the case of “Plaisirs sucrés” by Pierre Hermé, my absolute idol in the world of macarons and confectionery.

If the cover of my “Plaisirs sucrés” starts being used up, it’s not because I use Pierre Hermé’s exact recipes often. Nonetheless, since I found there the best pastry cream recipe (crème pâtissière) in the world, (I used it in Strawberry Tartlets), I decided to look there for a new apricot dessert idea. This is how I came across the thing which makes this upside-down tart unique, namely the extravagant use of moist, sticky, brown sugar, called muscovado. By “extravagant” I mean putting a 1 cm layer of sugar  I would have never dared in my previous upside-down tarts. Having tried both a thick and a thin layer of muscovado (opting for individual tartlets made this experiment easier), I can affirm the 1 cm layer is obligatory (actually I have put about 1 cm, but Pierre Hermé advised 1,5 cm!). One of the tartlets was made with normal brown sugar; it wasn’t even half as good. The apricots are darkened by the muscovado, but the aroma and the taste are simply divine.

TIP: I couldn’t find this sugar in “normal” shops and have finally seen it in both a Vietnamese and a British grocery.

Special equipment:

individual tart dishes

pastry cutters (slightly bigger than the tart dishes)

Preparation: 1h30

Ingredients (makes 6x 10 cm diameter tartlets):

1,5 kg apricots

1 thin puff pastry sheet (about 230g)

muscovado sugar

50 g butter

juice from 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Grease small tart dishes generously with butter (also on the sides).

Put a 1 cm thick layer of muscovado sugar on the bottom of each dish.

Cut the apricots in two, remove the kernels.

Arrange the apricots very tightly (they will shrink) in a nice pattern, laying them on the side. (Not the kernel side or the skin side!).

Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apricots.

Cut out circles from the pastry sheet. They should be a bit bigger than the dish’s bottom diameter.

Cover the apricots with the pastry tucking well the sides downwards.

Prick the surface several times with a fork.

Put the tartlets into the oven for 30 – 40 minutes.

Take them out when the tart is dark golden.

When the tartlets cool down a bit, make sure, cutting around and separating with a knife, that the pastry doesn’t stick to the sides of the dishes.

Put a small serving plate over each tart dish (bottom side up) and carefully turn the tartlets upside down. (Do it over a kitchen sink and wear dark clothes.)

If some fruit pieces haven’t fallen into the plate, simply arrange them in the tartlets and if there is any juice left in the dishes, simply pour it over the turned-upside tarts.

Put them into the fridge and serve cold.

21 Replies to “Upside-Down Apricot Tartlets with Muscovado”

  1. Hi Sissi! These mini tarts look beautiful!!! One ingredient I learned today – muscovado. I love you compared with regular sugar. I trust you. This sugar is a must. It’s interesting you found it in Vietnamese and Britisih – I guess Vietnamese food has influence from French and maybe that’s why they have it. Good tip! Have a great week ahead Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Nami!!! You are quick! Actually it as a Vietnamese shop, but the sugar came from Thailand… Have a great week too!

  2. What a beautiful tart. The mister can’t get enough of apricots so I’ll give this one a try just for him. I can get the sugar here in Australia with no problem.

  3. I have never made tarte tatin or any upside down cakes, been planning to try. 1.5cm sugar sounds really a lot but 100g for 1.5kg fruit is not that much. Muscovado is sold in every supermarket I have visited, guess its popular here

    1. Actually I have just checked on my measuring tape, it was rather 1 cm (still a lot though!). Sorry for the small mistake, I’ll correct it.

    2. I think since I made three different experimental kinds of tartlets, I haven’t actually counted the sugar amount I used, so I have finally left it without any grams… It might be much more than 100 g then… I got really messy with sugar counting here. Sorry again.

      1. You made 3 different tarts for experimenting – lucky you, having to taste them. I know its a tough job:) Muscovado sugar – I suppose if its not available, a substitute could be mixing white sugar with molasses/treacle. It might work, I have never tried it.

        1. I managed to limit myself to one tartlet a day, but it was difficult…
          It’s a great idea, maybe with the dark molasses? (I know there is a light treacle too, I think dark molasses are closer to this dark sugar.)

  4. This is the most amazing looking dessert! Absolutely stunning….Absolutely love the flavour that muscovado sugar adds….No one make desserts better than the french…Going to french patisseries is such a treat… I will have to give this a go when I have family / friends over for dinner….looks divine!

    1. Thank you Shilpa! I totally agree of course, although I love a piece of the definitely not French Guinness Ginger Bread from time to time… You can of course transform it into one big tart, it will be quicker and easier. I am just a bit crazy for individual sweet and savoury baked dishes of all kinds…

  5. This looks so juicy and succulent! I just want to grab a fork and go to work on those apricots!

    I know what you mean about sugar – I can find just 4 types of sugar in France (icing, caster, granulated and demerera) – none of the important one like dark brown muscovado, light brown, molasses etc! 🙁

    1. Thank you Charles! You might find it in France in organic shops, they carry sometimes this type of sugar. Otherwise, look for it in the 13th arrondissement, Frères Tang if I remember well… Oh, and did you know Galerie Lafayette has British products? And not expensive! I once bought there a jar of a very good lemon curd (it was before I started to make it on my own 😉 ) Maybe they also have this sugar. (It’s on the first floor of the G.L. Homme). When I think about it they have Marmite probably too…
      Demerara sugar in France is often false brown sugar (they tint it! I think it’s written somewhere on the box: it’s white cane sugar, then tinted).

  6. Hi Sissi! Long time no talk, we just got back from a long vacation at San Francisco, tastes lots of delicious foods! Your tart looks AMAZING, so fancy and out of my league! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Jeno for the compliment!! I am very happy to see you back and to to learn you have had excellent holidays! (Why do you say “out of my ligue”?)

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