Discover Durnstein, Austria on the Danube and an Apricot Tart Recipe
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A couple years ago, Jerry and I took an AmaWaterways river cruise down the Danube. I had never taken a cruise before so I really had no idea what to expect.
I was blown away! If you like to see a lot of places, but you don’t like to navigate traffic, constantly pack and unpack, and enjoy fine dining, then a river cruise is for you.
We floated down the Danube stopping in large cities, like Vienna, and smaller ones too, like Durnstein. This latter one is a charming village with a population of only 875.
We had options of either touring the Melk Abby or (what was erroneously touted as a tour of Durnstein’s apricots. I had visions of skipping through apricot orchards, basket in hand, watching lovely maidens in full skirts and strapping robust young gentlemen pick the fruit, and maybe ending with a cooking class of what to do with these bushels of apricots we were going to pick. Yes, unfortunately my imagination runs away sometimes. This time it got on a high speed AGV and high tailed it to God knows where. When I finally came to I was in a stone room on a hard wooden bench for 2 1/2 hours listening to the history of the Wachau apricot company. For our consolation prize, they let us sample their apricot brandy.
Once I recovered from my disillusionment, I resigned myself to the lecture. If our host had just left the bottle a little closer to me…
The Wieser company really does have a great story and they make fabulous things with apricots, not just brandy. Their story basically boils down to ingenuity, gobs and gobs of apricots, plus countless hours of being snowed in and with this combination Wieser and their multitude of apricot products was born. See that didn’t take 150 minutes?
Did you know that inside each apricot seed is a minute trace of arsenic? But if you roast the seeds, the arsenic dissipates and you are left with a lovely nonlethal treat. AND if you cover it in chocolate it’s even better. Quelle Suprise!
Durnstein is a charming town. It’s well over a 1000 years old with it’s first historical reference dated 1019. It really started to gain some Medieval press in 1192 when King Richard the Lion Hearted was held captive in the castle. Which by the way, is now a beautiful 4 star hotel.
If you get a chance, visit Durnstein and pop into the Wachua Valley’s visitor’s shop and stock up on jams, roasted apricot kernels (especially the chocolate covered ones!), brandy, and the apricot liqueur is especially nice. Walk the streets and make time for lunch.
Do not forget to visit the Melk Abby. Jerry thoroughly enjoyed it. He said it was beyond breathtaking, ok, maybe those weren’t the exact words he used, but that was definitely his sentiment.
In the meantime, in honor of the darling town and it’s warm and gracious town folk, below is an Apricot Tart recipe. This is a no bake recipe so it’s perfect for summertime. I’ve made it with an almond crust, whipped cream cheese, fresh apricots and it’s glazed with a light apricot jam glaze. I could eat this whole tart by myself. Serve it up Austrian style with an apricot cognac or a strong coffee in a glass with a dash of whip cream on top.
I hope you enjoy it. Auf Wiedersehen!
A quick note about making a decorative fruit top: before you place the fruit on the custard of your apricot tart, first arrange the fruit in the pattern you think will work on your working surface. This way you can play with different arrangements without getting your fruit goopy.Print
Apricot Tart Recipe
Apricot Tart – inspired from our cruise down the Danube with Ama Waterways. A little stop in Durnstein Austria captured my heart! | www.lakesidetable.com
- Prep Time: 120 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings
- Category: Dessert
For the Crust*
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cups sugar
- 1 egg, extra large
- 1 teaspoons almond extract
For the Custard
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Apricot Topping
- 3-4 apricots, cut into wedges
- 1/4 cup jam (apricot or peach)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Make the Crust
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well. Scrape the sides at least twice. Mix well in between scrapings.
- Slowly add the flour mixture on very low speed until a ball forms. Don’t over mix.
- Take the ball of dough and continue to gently kneed with your hands on a lightly floured surface.
- Roll it out and lay it in the tart pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Take it out as soon as it starts to turn golden brown.
- Cool completely.
Make the Custard
- Heat milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
- While milk heats, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl until smooth.
- Add 1/2 cup hot milk to yolk mixture in a stream, whisking, then add remaining milk, whisking constantly.
- Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened about 8 to 10 minutes (do not boil).
- Immediately force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla.
- Cover the custard’s surface with wax paper and chill for at least 2 hours.
Put it All Together
- Spread the custard smoothly onto the tart crust.
- Arrange the apricot wedges in the design you like on your work surface to make sure the design works.
- Transfer the fruit onto the custard in the pattern you designed.
- Mix together the lemon juice and jam. Brush this mixture gently onto the apricots.
- Serve immediately or chill.
This dessert keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
*Easy Hack – buy pre-made sugar cookie dough to use for the crust. Or if you like it a little less sweet, use a Pillsbury pie crust from the refrigeration isle.