Nectarine and Plum Tarte Tatin


~ Nectarine and Plum Tarte Tatin ~

Here’s another dessert post, making that two in a row. I am being greedy, but it’s summer, and the fruit is impossible to resist right now. The farmers’ markets are teeming with stone fruit. Their tables are stacked with teetering towers of peaches, nectarines, apricots and early plums. I bring home bags stuffed with fruit only to return with more the next day. It really isn’t a challenge to slurp through the bounty, but when there is a little too much, the older fruit is quickly transformed into a baked dessert.

Nectarine and Plum Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin (an upside down caramelized tart) is a beautiful way to showcase stone fruit. The fruits’ sweet tanginess melds beautifully with the caramel, while their orange and crimson mottled flesh intensifies in a vibrant, richly colored filling. I used a combination of nectarines and plums, because that’s what I had.

Serves 8-10.

For the Sour Cream Pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/3 cup full fat sour cream

Nectarine and Plum Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in 4 pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
4 large nectarines, quartered, pits removed
4 plums, halved, pits removed
1 egg, beaten to blend, for glaze

Prepare Pastry:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until butter is size of peas. Add sour cream and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be made one day ahead; refrigerate until use. Pastry dough may also be frozen up to one month in freezer before rolling. Allow to defrost in refrigerator overnight.) Remove pastry from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling out.

Prepare Tart:
Arrange butter in bottom of large oven-proof skillet with sloping sides (preferably cast iron.) Sprinkle 1 cup sugar evenly over butter and pan. Cook over medium heat until butter melts, the sugar is partially dissolved and the mixture is bubbling, about 2 minutes.  Arrange nectarines and plums closely together in an alternate fashion, cut-side up, in a circular pattern in the skillet. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Set skillet over medium-high heat. Boil until a deeply colored syrup forms, turning skillet to ensure even cooking, about 30 minutes. (Due to the juices from the fruit, the syrup will be more red than brown. Check for doneness by tasting a little of the syrup – be careful, because it will be very hot. If it has a caramel flavor, then it’s ready for the oven).
While the fruit is cooking on the stove, preheat oven to 425 F. Roll out pastry on floured surface or parchment paper to a round shape to fit size of skillet. Remove skillet from heat. Lay pastry over fruit. Cut 3-4 slits in pastry. Brush pastry with some of the egg glaze. Bake tart until pastry is deep golden brown and firm when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove tart from oven and cool on rack one minute. Cut around edge of skillet to loosen pastry. Invert the tart onto a platter, using oven mitts. If any of the fruit is stuck in the pan, remove with a knife and arrange on top of tart. Cool tart slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Pear Plum and Blueberry Crisp with Hazelnut Streusel

Pear Plum and Blueberry Crisp with Hazelnut Streusel

Pear Crisp tf

When I have a lot of fruit lying about, I make a crisp. It’s an efficient way to use up ripe fruit, and a perfect expression of the season’s ingredients. Not only that, it’s a great way to serve dessert to a crowd. Unfussy to prepare, the assembled crisp may be refrigerated up to 3 hours before baking. For a dinner party I’ll pop it in the oven when we sit down to eat the main course. Then it’s ready and piping hot when it’s time for dessert.

Feel free to combine several fruits in a crisp. I like to mix 2-3 types of fruit, choosing for a variety of colors and textures as well as a balance between sweetness and tartness in flavor.  Pears are prominent at the farmer’s market now as well as late season plums and berries. For this crisp I combined softly sweet bosc pears with spiced plums and tart blueberries.

Pear Plum and Blueberry Crisp with Hazelnut Streusel

Serves 10-12

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut in 1/2″ cubes
1/2 cup toasted, skinned and chopped hazelnuts

For the filling:
6 large Bosc pears, about 3 pounds, peeled cored, cut in 1″ chunks
6 plums, halved, each half quartered
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from one lemon
1 pint blueberries

Prepare topping:
Mix flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingers until topping resembles coarse meal. Mix in hazelnuts. (Topping may be prepared up to one day in advance. Refrigerate until use.)

Prepare filling:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.)
Combine all of the ingredients except the blueberries in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Spread in a rectangular baking dish. Scatter blueberries over the filling. Cover the filling evenly with the topping.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown on top, about 50 minutes. Remove and serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Summer Comfort Food: Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

Summer Comfort Food: Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

Nectarine Raspberry Crisp

I confess to being a glutton when it comes to stone fruit. There is a window of time when peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums run rampant at the market. Vibrantly hued and mottled in purples, oranges, fuscias and crimson, their flesh is a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, winey, and tart.  I could eat them all day long, but then my stomach would hurt.  At this time when these gifts are abundant, I tend to overshop. My kitchen counters are lined with bowls and baskets brimming with fruit.  So, it’s no surprise that even in our home, all of this fruit cannot be eaten at their peak of ripeness.  Some start to get a little too ripe, buried at the bottom of the bowl, or even passed over for the newest batch from the market.  As I said, I have indulgence issues.

This is the moment when a crumble or crisp comes in handy.  It’s desserts’ equivalent to a homey vegetable soup.  Gather up all the ripe, somewhat passed fruit (as you might with vegetables for a soup), cut and chop and pile them in a baking dish.  Garnish with berries and pile on the topping.  The tartness of the berries balances the sweetness of the stone fruit, and with little added sugar the result is a rich, murky, sweet – but not cloying, perfumed stew of summer fruit. It’s best served warm, but not piping hot, since that will mask the flavor of the fruit. A dollop of high quality vanilla ice cream or whipped cream adds a cool foil to the warm, more-ish fruit.

Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp
Serves 8

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

For the fruit:
2 pounds nectarines (or combination of nectarines, plums, peaches), halved and pitted, cut in 1″ chunks
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Prepare topping:
Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix well to combine.  Add butter, and work in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Topping may be prepared one day in advance.  Cover and refrigerate until use.)

Prepare crisp:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange nectarines in rectangular baking dish.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.  Arrange raspberries and blueberries over nectarines.  Cover fruit evenly with topping. Bake in oven until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool briefly.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

Nectarine, Raspberry, Blueberry Crumble tf

I confess to being a glutton when it comes to stone fruit. There is a window of time when peaches, nectarines and plums run rampant at the market. Vibrantly hued and mottled in purples, oranges, fuscias and crimson, their flesh is a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, winey, and tart.  I could eat them all day long, but then my stomach would hurt.  At this time when these gifts are abundant, I tend to overshop.  (It’s no secret that I have indulgence issues at farmers’ markets.)  My kitchen counters are lined with bowls and baskets brimming with fruit.  So, it’s no surprise that even in our home, all of this fruit cannot be eaten at the peak of ripeness.  Some start to get a little too ripe, buried at the bottom of the bowl, or even passed over for the newest batch from the market.  As I said, I have indulgence issues.

This is the moment when a crumble or crisp comes in handy.  It’s desserts’ equivalent to a homey vegetable soup.  Gather up all the ripe, somewhat passed fruit (as you might with vegetables for a soup), cut and chop and pile them in a baking dish.  Garnish with berries and pile on the topping.  The tartness of the berries balances the sweetness of the stone fruit, and with little added sugar the result is a rich, murky, sweet – but not cloying – perfumed stew of summer fruit. It’s best served warm, but not piping hot, since that will mask the flavor of the fruit. A dollop of high quality vanilla ice cream or whipped cream adds a cool foil to the warm, more-ish fruit.

Nectarine, Blueberry and Raspberry Crisp

You can use any stone fruit for the crisp. Try any combination of plums, peaches and nectarines. The addition of raspberries and blueberries adds tartness and color.

Serves 8

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups (170 g.) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 g.) brown sugar
1/4 cup (55 g.) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170 g.) unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

For the fruit:
2 lbs.(1 kg.) nectarines (or use a combination of nectarines, plums, peaches), halved and pitted, cut in 1″ chunks
1 cup (150 g.) raspberries
1 cup (150 g.) blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Prepare topping:
Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix well to combine.  Add butter, and work in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Topping can be prepared one day in advance.  Cover and refrigerate until use.)

Prepare crisp:
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
Arrange nectarines in rectangular baking dish.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.  Arrange raspberries and blueberries over nectarines.  Cover fruit evenly with topping. Bake in oven until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool briefly.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Playing with My Food

Playing with My Food

 

Playing with food 009

 

This morning I brought home my usual overstuffed shopping basket from the farmer’s market.  It tumbled over with relief when I placed it down on the kitchen counter, and a few eager ingredients escaped the crowd and rolled before me.  These included some sweetly perfumed white nectarines, a floppy bunch of intoxicatingly aromatic mint, and a snow-white fennel bulb crowned with frizzy green fronds.  As I reached for them I stopped and thought: What a wonderful combination of color, texture and fresh flavor.  The leaves of mint were enormous, begging to be left intact.  Obligingly, I gathered one and cupped the leaf realizing it would make a perfect vessel.  I sliced the nectarine thinly and did likewise with the fennel, reserving its dill-like tips as garnish.  I imagined the crunchy, juicy, fresh and bright textures and taste. Now to balance this combo, a little salt and a little bite were needed.  I knew exactly what to dig for in my cheese drawer: a chunk of Pecorino Romano Pepato I had purchased the previous week at my favorite Italian specialty store.  If you do not know this fantastic cheese it is a Pecorino Romano studded with whole black peppercorns.  The combination of the salty sheep cheese and the sharp bite of black peppercorn is addictive.  I shaved a few slivers off, collected any wayward black peppercorns and combined them with the other ingredients cupped in the mint leaf.  To pull it together, I reached for a lemon on my window ledge and cut a wedge of it, squeezing the fresh citrus juice over the mint, followed by a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.  And suddenly I had a perfect summertime amuse-bouche. If you prefer more substance to your bite, this would go nicely on top of crostini.