Is there anything more decadent than a perfectly ripe nectarine, enjoyed on a lazy August afternoon? Perhaps there is, but right now I simply can’t think of anything. Nectarines, which just may be my favorite fruit, are in high season now, and have become my daily afternoon snack, savored while they last. But, if you find yourself blessed with an abundance of nectarines and need to use them up, or want to dazzle your dinner guests with a dessert (almost) too pretty to eat, then this recipe will do the trick.
I’ve adapted it from this beautiful recipe, which, though fancy, was a little too complicated for my tastes. So I simplified it a bit with ingredients I had more readily available than hazelnut meal and rosewater (found in the original recipe), and a store bought crust (gasp!) If you would like to make your own crust, I suggest this one, which has become my standard go-to sweet crust ever since my cranberry tart of 2013.
This recipe is adaptable; you could sub peaches for the nectarines, or even perhaps plums. Tomatoes would make a fascinating, more savory version of this tart, if you leave out some of the sugar. I may just do that and report back…
Until then, I hope enjoy this sunset-colored dessert on a warm summer evening, preferably with a glass of crisp white wine alongside.
Adapted from this recipe
Time: 45 minutes Serves 8-12
- 1 thawed store-bought crust (such as Pillsbury), or make your own
- 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese**
- 1 teaspoon vanilla OR almond extract
- the zest of 1 lemon
- a pinch of salt
- 3 T powdered sugar
- 4 or 5 ripe nectarines, skin-on
- 1/4 cup apricot jam***
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- lemon juice to taste (optional)
** if it’s too hard/expensive to get mascarpone, you can use 1 cup of ricotta. It’s not the end of the world. (But if you CAN get mascarpone, it’s so wonderful and creamy!)
*** really, you can use any jam here, but apricot is nice because it is translucent and orange, letting the sunset hues of the nectrines shine through while lending a lovely glossy glaze
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Press thawed crust into pie tin, or quiche pan with romovable bottom (what I used.) Place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on top of the crust, and cover with pie weights, coffee beans, regular beans, or even small metal silverware! This keeps the bottom of the crust flat. (For helpful instructions, check out this tutorial.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. This is all the baking you are going to do, so turn off the oven! It’s summer; it’s too hot for any more baking than this.
While the crust is cooling, prep the filling. Whisk the cheeses, extract, lemon zest, salt, and powdered sugar together nuntil smooth. Refrigerate while you prep the nectarines.
Slice the nectarines in half, and twist gently to remove the pit. Don’t squeeze the nectarines; you’ll bruise them and make a mess to boot! Cut each half in 6-8 pieces, depending on the size of your nectarines. Mix the apricot jam, boiling water, and lemon juice together.
Once your crust is cool, spread the cheese filling evenly and smoothly across the crust. Then, especially for us Type A cooks, comes the fun part! Arrange the nectarine slices, slighly overlapping, in concentric circles, working from the outside in. With a glazing brush, drizzle/brush the jam glaze over the tart. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.
This time last year…