Apricot Tart with a Shuffle

No matter how hard I try, there’s a particularly irritating sound I find very difficult to bite my tongue and ignore.

For anyone who’s gone food shopping with a partner who is not as “into it” as yourself, the hopelessly bored shuffle of unwilling feet behind you as you go about trying to gather everything you need can be a bit of a – now, how can I put this politely? – pain in the posterior.



There’s not much that I love more than food shopping, especially at the market.  Most of the time I manage just fine getting it all home (with a fair bit of dexterous arrangement) on my bicycle, but occasionally a little help is needed.  On these occasions, I tend to play on the ‘you’ve got such big muscles’ tack, but I think I’m wearing that one out.

But anyway, on to the main theme.

We had friends round for dinner tonight, and of course I leaped at the opportunity to “do something Mrs Beeton-y”.

With a bag of golden-orange apricots in my boyfriend’s unwilling hands (“Can you please go and weigh these?” I directed, hoping to distract him from sighing and twitching desperately behind me.  Off he went, shuffling and sighing forlornly.  Geez and blimey!!!)


INGREDIENTS – 12 or 14 apricots, sugar to taste, puff-paste or short crust.



“Sweeten with good moist sugar”, Mrs Beeton advises.  I’ve long been puzzled as to what ‘moist sugar’ is – I’ve been given a few hints about modern equivalents, but I’ve found myself puzzling over the question on occasion for quite a while.  Eventually, after quite a bit of internet research, ‘moist sugar’ in Mrs Beeton’s world was something like Muscovado Sugar (which is not actually moist, but has a higher molasses content, apparently, hence the ‘moist’ – in comparison to other sugars – label).  Off I rushed to hastily grab a box, my poor suffering boyfriend shuffling forsakenly behind me.



Our friends are German, and they’d never heard of Mrs Beeton.

“She studied in Heidelberg, really?’ one of them cried.  An instant convert was born.

I opted for (shop-bought) puff-paste (pastry) – one of these days I’ve got to give Mrs Beeton’s recipe for this a try.  In the meantime, the pre-made stuff made a very good substitute.


However, the recipe doesn’t specify clearly whether pastry is meant to form the sides of the tart, or if it’s just to go on top.  After debating it with my boyfriend for a few moments, we figured she meant ‘just on top’.  On it went, over the fresh apricot halves, and popped into the oven.



Unfortunately, I served the dessert after a rather large dinner and too short a pause between the main and sweet courses.  Politely reluctant looks dressed the faces of our guests as I keenly encouraged them to try a little bit, whilst at the same time deftly putting all the blame on Mrs Beeton should it not be to their taste.


Thankfully, they really liked it.  I accompanied it with Mrs Beeton’s custard, which I’ve made before (https://mrsbeetonin365days.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/day-91-lemon-brandy-custard/).   This time, unfortunately, I curdled it ever so slightly – but I sploshed enough brandy into it to mask any deficiencies.  I hope.).


“Mmm, interesting,” one of them commented about the sauce as she took another bite.  Luckily, this sort of custard is not a typically German thing, so I got away with the slight curdling by saying it was an English sauce.  (“Oh, OK then.”)

The fact that there was nothing left is a testament to the simple tastiness of this simple dessert (thank you Mrs Beeton).


Apricot Tart (Recipe 1239 ): http://www.mrsbeeton.com/27-chapter27.html#1239

Lemon Brandy Custard (Recipe 404): http://www.mrsbeeton.com/10-chapter10.html#404

Tags: , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Apricot Tart with a Shuffle”

  1. telepathetic Says:

    This blog is awesome!

    Was very inspired by julie powells 365 days to do the julia child cookbook was this inspired by that also or different?

    Mrs beetons is lovely 🙂

    • modernupstairsdownstairs Says:


      Thanks a lot 🙂

      I saw the Julie Powells movie and it inspired me to take Mrs Beeton off my bookshelf. A little while later I thought of doing a blog about it… then realised I must have got that idea off Julie & Julia! I haven’t read the book yet, but the movie was good. I love cooking and old recipes, and have written for magazines in the past, so my Mrs Beeton challenge is a fun combination of all three!

      Thanks again 🙂

Leave a Reply to modernupstairsdownstairs Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: