Apricot Mascarpone Tarts with Caramel Sauce
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus about 45 minutes for the pastry and caramel
Grilling time: 6 to 8 minutes
Special equipment: pastry brush
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1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
2. Place the pastry shells, top sides up and about 2 inches apart, on a baking sheet. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the centers of the pastries to make shells. Return the shells to the oven to crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely.
3. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the granulated sugar and water. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is just dissolved. Then cook, without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan and using a pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush down the sugar crystals that form on the side of the pan, until the caramel is medium-dark amber, 3 to 5 minutes. The caramel should have a sharp aroma without being acrid. Watch the sauce carefully because once it begins to darken, it caramelizes quickly. Remove from the heat.
4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the cream and the apricot nectar until steaming. Carefully pour the hot cream mixture into the saucepan of caramel. It will bubble up and some solid pieces may form. Return the mixture to medium-low heat and stir constantly until the caramel is completely melted, about 1 minute. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter until it is completely incorporated. Stir in the vanilla. Set aside at room temperature to cool and thicken.
5. In a small bowl combine the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar. Set aside.
6. In a large bowl toss the apricots, melted butter, and nutmeg. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the apricots, cut side down, over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until heated through, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill and cut each apricot piece in half lengthwise.
7. Place each pastry shell on a plate and spoon in some of the mascarpone mixture. Top with apricot pieces. Drizzle caramel sauce over and around each tart and finish with almonds. Serve immediately.
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©2011 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Time To Grill™ by Jamie Purviance. Used with permission