Baking

Ingredients
  • 150 g (5 oz) dried apricots, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons brandy
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 100 g (3½ oz) almond paste
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 125 g (4 oz) lightly salted butter, softened
  • 75 g (3 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g (5 oz) self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g (2 oz) ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Directions

Line a 12-section bun tray with paper cake cases. Cook the apricot slices gently in the brandy and water in a small saucepan for 4–5 minutes until plumped up slightly and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Press the jam through a sieve into the pan and leave to cool.

Roll out the almond paste on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Cut out small heart shapes using a cutter, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Gather the remaining almond paste into a ball. Place the hearts on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and heat under a preheated moderate grill, watching closely, until beginning to toast. Leave to cool.

Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Grate in the remaining almond paste and beat with a hand-held electric whisk for about a minute until light and creamy. Divide between the paper cases.

Bake in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Pile teaspoonfuls of the apricot mixture on to the cakes and position a heart on top. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

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