Walnut Nectarine Tart Recipe

Walnut Nectarine Tart Recipe Recipe

I stopped by Costco this week and found that nectarines were still on sale. Our family has been enjoying juicy, sweet stone fruit all summer and I was hoping this case of them would live up to our recent experiences. Alas, these nectarines weren't nearly as flavorful as the ones from earlier in the summer. Instead of letting them rot in our fruit basket ignominiously, I decided to give them a new and much more delicious life by baking them in a frangipane fruit tart.

For this version, I pre-baked store-bought puff pastry that I layered with walnut buttercream and nectarines. Making the nut butter cream for the tart has become one of my specialties; I could make this dessert with my eyes closed. It's very simple, and if you do this as much as I have, it will become second nature for you as well. Finally, I gave the product a professional look by glazing the tart with nectarine jam. The result was absolutely delectable!

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound puff pastry dough (store-bought), thawed
2 whole eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon imitation brandy extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar, to taste
5 ounces ground walnuts, store-bought
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large yellow nectarines, (quantity varies with the size of the fruit)
juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons nectarine jam (or any preserves), warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave


Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the tart shell:

Make sure the puff pastry dough is thawed but still cold so it's easy to roll out. Roll the dough using a rolling pin into a 15 x 12-inch rectangle. Place the dough in a non-stick rectangular (12" x 8") tart mold, previously lined with parchment paper; following the curve of the mold, crimp the dough against the edge. Gently press the dough with your fingers so there are no air bubbles. Leave a little excess above the edge because the dough will settle a bit in the oven. Prick the dough with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Line the dough with another sheet of parchment paper and top with ceramic pie weights (dried beans work well too). Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 12-14 minutes. Remove the pie weights and discard the pieces of parchment paper. Bake for another 2-3 minutes so the pie crust can dry. Remove from the heat and let the dough cool a little down. Set aside.

Making the walnut buttercream filling:

Using an electric hand-held mixer, whisk 2 eggs with about ½ cup of sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. It will take about 5-6 minutes. The consistency should be very airy. Add the vanilla and brandy extracts. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the remaining sugar. Pour in the egg mixture. Add the ground walnuts and salt. Mix until the batter is smooth.

Assembly time:

Wash the nectarines. Cut small wedges, then twist and gently remove the wedges, from the stone. Transfer to a bowl. Coat them in lemon juice. You could sprinkle a bit more sugar (if necessary), I didn't).

Fill the tart shell with walnut cream. Top with the nectarines wedges.

Cover the edges (puff pastry) with aluminum foil so they don't burn. 

Bake for 15 minutes at 375°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 25-30 minutes. At the end, broil for about 2 minutes to get a nice golden top.

Remove from the oven and finish by brushing the tart with the jam. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. The dough should be flaky.

For a perfect result, I use a loose-bottomed mold; it's very convenient.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a cup of hot tea.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Don't discard the remnants of puff pastry. Make some cheese twists the next day!

To make sure the puff pastry fits into the mold, I roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper (or between 2 silicone mats); this eliminates the need for extra flour on the rolling surface, which can change the texture of the dough.

I was able to find pre-ground walnuts at a local Indian market. You could replace with any ground nuts such as almonds, cashews or hazelnuts.

Parchment paper is very convenient when you use molds that aren't non-stick. If you're extra cautious, grease the molds with butter before lining them with parchment paper.

I use McCormick brandy extract or omit it entirely. If you don't have any, you can use the real thing.

I used homemade nectarine jam given to us by our friend Laura; you could use any other clear-looking preserves.

You can make these fruit tarts with any other fruit such as plums, peaches, berries, pears or figs, depending on the season. Be creative!

Check out my other desserts.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 6, 2011.


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