APRICOT AND LAVENDER ALMONDINE (Makes 10)
• 150g shortcrust pastry, rolled 2mm thick, and cut into 10 7cm discs • 10 canned apricot halves
For the almond cream:
• 110g ground almonds • 110g icing sugar • 2 tsp cornflour • 110g butter, softened • 2 eggs • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the crumble:
40g plain flour 25g butter 25g caster sugar 1 tbsp demerara sugar
For the glaze:
• 250g home-made apricot jam • 4 fresh garden lavender flower heads For the pralinettes: • 80g nibbed almonds • 60g caster sugar This recipe comes from Benoit Blin MCA, who is head pastry chef at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. For over 20 years, he has been able to source produce from the organic Le Manoir gardens, which has inspired this beautiful pâtisserie, which could be adapted to use other seasonal fruits.
1. First make the almond cream. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Put the butter in a stand mixer, beat in the dry ingredients and slowly incorporate the eggs and the vanilla extract. Mix well and reserve in the piping/ pastry bag.
2. Next, put all the crumble ingredients into a large mixing bowl and work together with fingertips to the consistency of breadcrumbs. Spread onto a baking sheet and freeze. Blitz in a food processor from frozen, then store in the freezer until needed.
3. Put the apricot jam for the glaze in a pan with the lavender and warm to about 50°C on a sugar thermometer. Whisk well, then cover with cling film/plastic wrap to infuse for 45 minutes. Blitz in the food processor for 10 seconds to break up the flowers and reserve until needed. 4. To make the pralinettes, bring the sugar and two teaspoons of water to 115°C. Add in the nuts and stir with a spatula. Allow the sugar to crystallize around the nuts, gently stirring. Turn onto a cold baking sheet to cool completely.
5. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
6. To assemble, pat dry the apricot halves with paper towels. Arrange the rings on a baking sheet with a silicon mat and place a pastry disc inside each ring. Pipe about 35g of almond cream into each ring. Place an apricot half in the centre of each one, slicedside down, and sprinkle the crumble generously around the edges. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove the rings from around the almondines and allow them to cool.
7. Reheat the apricot and lavender glaze and brush it over the top of each apricot. Sprinkle the pralinettes all around the edge of the apricots and dust with icing sugar.
Recipe and photograph taken from Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent and photography by Matt Russell. Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99, hardback