I live in a highly agricultural area where the land is divided into squares and filled with a patchwork of almonds, walnuts, vegetables, and stone fruit. Lots of stone fruit. I’ve sampled it all and every year the decision remains the same: nectarines are my absolute favorite. I’m tempted to load up at the grocery store, farmer’s market, and every farm stand we pass by in the summer months. Occasionally we’ll receive leftovers of the sunset-colored fruit from friends or family who have trees in their yards. I never say no.
Sometimes it seems like all the fruit will turn ripe at once, and then it’s a mad dash to eat every bite before it turns to mush. When that happens we either chop it all up and sprinkle them with lime juice and eat it cold in a simple salad, or we’ll toss it in the blender and make a yogurt-orange-nectarine smoothie. When I’m feeling extra ambitious, however, and if I happen to have puff pastry in the freezer, I’ll make these tarts, inspired by the fall mushroom tart. It’s the same basic principal of baking the pastry shell in a tart shape, and instead of adding a sauteed mushroom mixture you add whipped cream and macerated fruit.
Like the previous recipe, this isn’t at all hard work, but there’s a few steps. After the fruit is chopped it sits for awhile with lime juice and a bit of powered sugar and a pinch of salt. I made the whipped cream from scratched but that isn’t necessary. I forgot to poke holes in the center of the tart but the puffy centers and be gently pushed down with no problems. Isobel loved to “help” by eating the chopped up fruit with her fingers. I certainly didn’t stop her.
- 2 or 3 nectarines, chopped into one-inch pieces.
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, plus zest for sprinkling
- 1 tbs powdered sugar, plus more for sprinking
- 1 egg
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry
- whipped cream
- pinch of salt
- bit of water
– Chop the nectarines into roughly 1-inch pieces. Drizzle lime juice, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt over the fruit and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature while you get on with the tart.
– Roll the thawed dough out on a floured surface and cut into four squares. Lightly trace a square within each square to form the walls of the tart. Prick with a fork on the inner square and transfer to a baking sheet.
– Brush dough with an egg beaten with a little bit of water and sprinkle with powered sugar.
– Pop baking sheet with dough into the freezer for about fifteen minutes. Conveniently, this is about how long it takes to preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
– Bake the shells for about 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees F. Let cool and gently push down on the center of the tarts if they appear puffy.
– Fill center of tart with whipped cream and top generously with fruit and zest. Serve immediately.