Nectarine Tarts

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Peace Rose Tart.

My father planted Peace Roses under my mother's kitchen window so the fragrance of their golden, red-rimmed blossoms drifted through the open screen as she stood at the sink washing dishes. For seventy-three years, he tended the rose bushes as carefully as he tended my mother's heart and the resulting blooms mirrored the peace in Mama's eyes.  They died within a year of each other; my mother first, and then, assured he had done his best to give her a good life, my father peacefully joined her at the age of one hundred. Peace Roses always remind me of their undying love for each other, and this tart reminds me of those roses.

The recipe isn't fancy -  just a simple tart recipe, or you can use philo dough. The sweetness of the filling relies on the juice of the nectarines and the honey drizzled over them. You may choose to place the nectarine slices concentrically to create the resemblance of a flower, or you may slice or chop them into smaller pieces and fill the tart or muffin tin.

This is the kind of dessert my father would have put in a bowl and doused with milk.  I served it with sweetened whipped cream, but it would also be delicious with ice cream.

A spoonful of almond meal in the bottom helps to soak up juices and create a more stable base.

To create a rose formation, slice fruit thinly and place concentrically around the tart, ending with a tiny piece in the center. 

I only had three tart tins, so for the rest, I chopped the nectarines and the put them in a muffin tin.

Hot from the oven, with the most beautiful juices oozing out.

Dress them up for a party...

Or take them to the neighbors' house for an unexpected mid-day treat...

Or serve them for afternoon tea with friends.

Nectarine Tarts

Makes 6 or 7 tarts

5 - 10 nectarines
Almond meal
Ice water

For the dough:  You can buy philo dough or use your favorite tart recipe. I used Claire Ptak's rustic pastry recipe from her book, The Violet Bakery.

Flaky Pastry
140g (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
85g (6 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small chunks
3 tablespoons ice water (or slightly more, if needed to pull dough together)

1.  Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and cut butter in with a pastry cutter until crumbly. You may also process in a food processor.  Drizzle the ice water over this mixture and gently bring together with a spatula or your hands. Form into a ball, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

2.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

3.  On a lightly-floured surface, roll dough to 1/8" - 1/4" thickness.  Cut out 5 - 6 inch circles and place in tart tin, pressing gently to form.  If you don't have tart tins, you can place the dough in a muffin tin.  Trim excess dough.

4.  Place 2 teaspoons of almond meal in the bottom of each tart. This helps to soak up the juices of the fruit and give the tart a more stable base.

5.  Cut five nectarines into thin slices. If you want to create rose shapes for all the tarts, you will need more than five nectarines, perhaps 10.  If you are chopping up the fruit, you will have enough with five nectarines.

To create the tarts:

1.  Place the nectarines around each tart shell in a staggered fashion.

2.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted butter and one tablespoon honey.  For an extra touch of sweetness, you may drizzle 1/2 tablespoon white or brown sugar over the tart, in addition to the honey.

3.  Bake for 30 minutes in a muffin tin.  If using individual tart tins, bake on top of a baking sheet and increase baking time by approximately 10 - 13 minutes.

4.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

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