There is something magical about Camont. I had a feeling when I first met Kate over dinner with Pim. Pim had a sparkle in her eyes when she talked about Kate’s little haven in Gascony. Over dinner, Kate talked about making Apricot and Thyme Tart in the summer at Camont. I was immediately ready to pack my bags.
We had no idea what to expect as we boarded the train to Agen. The ride was picturesque, rolling green hills, dotted with vineyards and castles tucked away. Like a fairy tale. Once we arrived in Agen, we grabbed a cab, which we found out later no one does when they come to Camont. The drive was short but our anticipation was heightened as we turned the corner, saw the rustic sign Camont and recognized the farmhouse from Kate’s site.
The welcome was warm, like family we have not seen in a long time. Bacon, Kate’s fearless companion gave us a sniff and a bark. Kate’s sister, Stephanie was visiting and greeted us with open arms. As well there was Betsy who is an old friend of Kate’s from Boulder and Erika and Chris, who are there in Camont until November. The only person missing was Kate. And our friend, Dominique. This is when we found out, no one ever takes a cab to Camont.
We spent a glorious week bonding with Kate, Erika, and Chris. As well as many other’s who were in and out for the week (more to come on that). One of the many things we loved about Camont was the laughter that was enjoyed every day. Everyone really came together as one and enjoyed each other’s company. It was nice. It was comforting. Most of all, it was loving.
One rainy day, Kate came home with a crate of fresh apricots. The first summer apricots. I have fond memories of apricots being eaten, ripe, warmed by the sun and just plucked from my grandmother’s tree. This was the next best thing, perfectly picked and ready to be devoured.
That same rainy afternoon, as the clouds were slightly parting and the sun was just peeking through, Ericka and I decided to bake apricot tarts to photograph (more on that later) as well as for that night’s dessert. Erika worked her magic on the pastry crust, which was outstanding and I took over the apricots. I wanted to keep the tart simple by using what we had right there. I seasoned the apricots with a little sugar, fresh lemon juice and thyme from the herb garden outside the kitchen door. We had enough dough to make one large tart and two small ones. The larger one had a slight layer of frangipani under the apricots. The second one had a layer of fresh creamy goat cheese under the apricots with a generous drizzle of honey over the top and the third had a layer of creamy goodness made out of a deep dark brown sugar that was mixed with the leftover goat cheese and frangipani, covered with apricots and more honey. Each was baked until golden brown and then finished with a sprinkling of fresh thyme. Easy. Delicious. Very Gascony!
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Apricot and Thyme Tart
your favorite pastry dough
enough fresh apricots to cover the bottom of your tart pan
a handful of fresh thyme
1 lemon juiced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup almond flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
Heat oven to 400.
Generously butter the tart pan.
Line with the pastry dough.
Wash and pat dry the apricots, then cut in half.
Wash the thyme and pat dry. Pull the tender leaves off of any hard stems.
Combine the apricots, thyme, 1 tablespoon of sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Gently toss with your hands and then let sit.
Combine almond flour, butter, and the sugar. Using your fingers mix well until crumbly.
Add the egg and stir well until combined to form a paste.
Fill the tart shell with the almond paste.
Cover with the apricot halves.
Sprinkle with a small amount of sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
Let cool for 10 minutes.