Discover Durnstein, Austria on the Danube and an Apricot Tart Recipe

Discover Durnstein, Austria on the Danube and an Apricot Tart Recipe

Jump to recipe: Apricot Tart Recipe

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. 

tables and chairs surrounded by windows over looking a river
A little glassed in eating area on the back of the boat. Ama Waterways river cruise down the Danube.

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.

Danube River with trees and their reflection with blue sky and wispy clouds.
Danube River – Unfiltered unedited picture I took from the back of the boat. This could be an oil painting.

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.

Narrow street with only people walking, mountains in the background
Little medieval town of Durnstein. Charming!

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.

This vine was over 200 years old and showing the first signs of spring.
This vine was over 200 years old and showing the first signs of Spring.

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…

brandy in a glass

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?

bowl of whole apricots

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 nestled in the mountains among medieval ruins. So picturesque!

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. 

stone ledge over looking river
Right outside the Richard the Lionhearted Hotel in Durnstein

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.

A little courtyard restaurant right off the main pedestrian street

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.

arch ways, blush and gold moisaics
Jerry got to enjoy the inside of the Melk Abby only 45 minutes from Durnstein.

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.

apricot tart next to a cup of coffee and peach and yellow roses in a crystal vase

I hope you enjoy it.   Auf Wiedersehen!

apricot tart next to a cup of coffee and peach and yellow roses in a crystal vase

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.  

Practice arranging your fruit on a work space before placing it in the tart.
Practice arranging your fruit on a work space before placing it in the tart.

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
Course Dessert
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Madalaine

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Make the Crust
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.  Scrape the sides at least twice. Mix well in between scrapings.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture on very low speed until a ball forms.  Don't over mix.
  6.  Take the ball of dough and continue to gently kneed with your hands on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Roll it out and lay it in the tart pan.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Take it out as soon as it starts to turn golden brown.
  9. Cool completely.
  10. Make the Custard
  11. Heat milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
  12. While milk heats, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl until smooth.
  13. Add 1/2 cup hot milk to yolk mixture in a stream, whisking, then add remaining milk, whisking constantly.
  14. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened about 8 to 10 minutes (do not boil).
  15. Immediately force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla.
  16. Cover the custard's surface with wax paper and chill for at least 2 hours.
  17. Put it All Together
  18. Spread the custard smoothly onto the tart crust.
  19. Arrange the apricot wedges in the design you like on your work surface to make sure the design works.
  20. Transfer the fruit onto the custard in the pattern you designed.
  21. Mix together the lemon juice and jam.  Brush this mixture gently onto the apricots.
  22. Serve immediately or chill.

Recipe Notes

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.

 

apricot tart next to a cup of coffee and peach and yellow roses in a crystal vase

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