La Fenetra (French Apricot Tart Recipe from Toulouse)
If you’re looking for a unique dessert that is plenty sweet but still light enough to enjoy after a meal then Fenetra, a French apricot tart from Toulouse, is for you!
La Fenetra is a traditional Toulousaine dessert that is very different from other apricot tarts. I found this dish while researching regional French desserts (a fun little pastime that I have). It was a bit unusual with its composition and looked so bright and colorful that I knew I needed to try it.
I like to think of this tart as a delicious mash-up of a classic pie and a beautiful French almond cake. The top is a meringue mixed with almond flour, powdered sugar and all-purpose flour. Once baked, the result is quite magical.
It firms up into a very soft, spongy almond cake, also known as a dacquoise (learn how to make one in a live recorded class included in our new Pastry Class Bundle!). Normally, you would see this on its own with a coffee buttercream or other fun toppings, so it’s really different to see it baked on top of a tart.
Traditionally, Fenetra is made with just apricot jam and candied lemon as the filling. I changed this up a bit because I didn’t have any candied lemon peel on hand. I added a couple of raspberries for a similar tart punch. I also had a lot of fresh apricots available and added those in as well.
The apricot jam and fresh fruit cook together for this gorgeous pie-like texture. Then it’s all held together by a crisp tart crust.
Feeling inspired to take a trip to Toulouse but don’t want to leave the comfort of your kitchen? Keep reading to learn more about how to make this apricot tart recipe.
The History of La Fenetra Toulouse
Some sources say this Toulouse specialty dates back all the way to Roman times, when the Feast of the Dead (called Feretralia) was celebrated every March and Fenetra was served as part of the celebration.
By the 18th century, La Fenetra was highly popular in the region and was the staple dessert at the end of a Sunday meal.
Today, the dessert is much harder to find, with only a few bakeries still making it. But Fenetra still tops the list of what to eat in Toulouse and is a truly special dish that is surprisingly simple to make.
What You Need to Make Fenetra Apricot Tarts
This impressive French apricot tart recipe will wow even the hardest-to-please guests! Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe at home:
- All-purpose flour: You’ll use flour to make the tart crust and as one of the ingredients in the unique almond meringue topping.
- Almond flour: Almond flour is added to the meringue topping and transforms it into a spongy almond cake after baking.
- Unsalted butter: Your butter should be cubed at room temperature so it’s soft but not too warm.
- Granulated sugar: Of course, any dessert needs plenty of sweetness! This dish uses both granulated sugar and powdered sugar.
- Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar will be folded into the meringue topping and dusted on top of the tart while baking.
- Salt: Adding just a pinch of salt to your tart crust helps bring out the sweet flavors of this dessert.
- Eggs: You’ll need one whole egg for the tart crust and 4 egg whites for the meringue topping.
- Water or milk: Choose either water or milk to bring the tart crust ingredients together. Use milk for added richness.
- Apricot jam: Traditionally, a Fenetra tart would only use apricot jam in the filling, not fresh apricots. But I made mine a little bit differently.
- Fresh apricots: I sliced fresh apricots thinly and used them with the apricot preserves to create a delicious filling with lots of great texture.
- Fresh or frozen raspberries: I didn’t have the traditional candied lemon peel on hand, so I opted to add a few raspberries for a burst of tart flavor.
Tips & Tricks for Making a Fenetra Tart
How long does it take to make Fenetra?
This dessert is actually very simple to make. It only needs to bake about 40 minutes in total, but it’s a good idea to make your tart crust in advance because it needs time to chill. Ideally, leave your crust to chill in the fridge overnight, or for at least 45 minutes.
What is the best way to store Fenetra?
I recommend storing your apricot tart in the fridge. You can safely store it for up to 3 days (although I doubt it will last that long!). The tart crust will be its crispest on the first day though.
Can I make this tart in advance?
Absolutely! I love to break up the work on a dessert like this and make the crust one day and the filling and topping the next. You can prepare the tart crust up to two days in advance, or make it and keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking your tart.
Ready to make your own apricot tart with fresh apricots? This Fenetra is fun to make and quite different from a lot of French tart recipes you see! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
La Fenetra (French Apricot Tart)
La Fenetra is a traditional dessert from Toulouse that features a crisp tart crust, decadent fruit filling and an almond meringue topping.
1 hour 15 minutes
Pate Sable Tart Crust
- 2 cups (250g) AP flour
- 9 tbsp (125g) unsalted butter, cubed at room temp (soft but not too warm!)
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) water or milk
For the Filling
- 4-5 fresh apricots, cut into ¼” slices
- Apricot jam
- 6-8 fresh or frozen raspberries
- 4 egg whites (120g)
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (60g) powdered sugar
- ¾ cup (70g) almond flour
- ¼ cup (25g) all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Start with the dough
- Mix together the flour and butter in a large bowl. Breaking the butter into pieces and combining it with the flour until it mostly resembles smaller pea-sized pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, egg, and water. Add to the bowl with the flour and butter, and mix together either by hand or with a fork or spoon.
- When it starts to come together, flour your hands and use them to bring the dough into a ball on your surface, adding a little more flour as necessary.
- Pat flat (about ½ inch (1.5 cm)) thick, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 45 minutes. It’s best to chill it overnight.
- Gently roll out the dough into a large circle about 1/8-inch (3mm) thick. Form to a 9 ½ inch (23 cm) tart mold and use the rolling pin to roll off the excess. Prick the bottom with a fork.
- Chill 5-10 minutes in the freezer then bake at 350F/175C for 10 minutes until just the tops of the edges are starting to turn brown and the dough isn’t raw any more. Let cool.
Prepare the Filling
- In a mixer (or with a handmixer), start whipping up the egg whites at a medium-high speed. When they resemble foam, slowly start adding the granulated sugar. Beat to stiff peak.
- Sift together the powdered sugar, almond flour, and flour and gently fold into the whipped up egg whites just until combined. Transfer to a piping bag with either a large ½” tip, or no tip but with the bag cut to a ½” opening.
- Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) if it isn’t already.
- Spread apricot jam to cover the base of the partially cooked tart crust. Cover the bottom with a single layer of fresh apricot slices. Place several raspberries amongst the apricots.
- Starting in the middle spiral out to the edge to cover the top with the meringue mixture.
- Dust the top liberally with powdered sugar. Bake immediately for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust once more with powdered sugar and then bake another 15 minutes.
- Let cool completely and enjoy!
NotesStorage: Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Make Ahead: Prepare the tart crust up to two days in advance, or keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for about 30 minutes.