A seasonal French pastry from Comptoir Gourmand
Let us for a moment suspend disbelief and suppose the Queen of Hearts of nursery lore really exists. For the sake of argument, let us also suppose her baking skills prove as fine as her rhymed reputation suggests.
What tarts did she bake? What dreams of deliciousness did she weave inside pastry cases fit for a king and queen, tempting enough for a knave to take? History doesn’t tell us. But here at Borough Market, we can make a pretty good guess.
Tarte à l’abricot et à la pistache: apricot and pistachio tart. “We have no special name, not like mille fuilles,” laughs Julien of Comptoir Gourmand, but the French still sounds better. Besides, France invented this tart, being blessed with summers more likely to send apricots raining down on your head than dank drizzle.
True to seasonality
“Our founder, Sebastián, grew up in the south of France, where there are many apricot trees,” Julian recalls. “His grandmother made this tart every summer.” True to seasonality, Comptoir Gourmand will only be serving the tart until the apricots run out: around the end of August, or early September.
Crowned with emerald shards of pistachios and the glowing orbs of apricot halves, beneath the bejewelled surface lies yet further treasures: a soft, enveloping bed of sensuous almond and pistachio cream encased in a circlet of pastry which, in the light, gleams soft, buttery gold.
If there's a more regal tart, we've yet to taste it—and we've had our fair share. “It is really popular,” smiles Julian, “and kids love it as a little treat between lunch and dinner”: further proof, were it needed, that these are the very same type of tarts that young scamp, the knave of hearts, stole clean away.