What can I say, I’m inspired by nectarines! My last post was about sweet and spicy nectarine and tomato gazpacho, something I highly recommend. This particular post is all about the fruit, combining caramelized nectarines with a lime and nectarine curd on a brown sugar crust. And yes, it’s as good as it sounds, if not better. Oh, and A l’Américaine is officially one year old! Hurray! Let’s celebrate with this amazing fruit tart.
I’m not usually a fan of fruit for dessert. I don’t mind it for breakfast, or for a snack, or in a smoothie, but when it comes to desserts I’m more of a chocolate/nut/caramel kind of person. In a restaurant, I’ll choose anything chocolate over anything fruit any day (unless that fruit happens to be rhubarb…). When my family visited a couple of weeks ago, I knew their stay would involve plenty of baking. I never, ever thought that I would choose, of my own will, to make a fruit tart, but that is exactly what happened. Turns out nectarines are the new rhubarb, in my house anyway.
I hesitated between two different recipes that I found on Epicurious and went with the tart. The other was a crisp, which also sounded delicious, but that I figured should wait until my rhubarb finally ripens. I think I chose right. This tart was fabulous. The crust in itself was sweet and decadent. The lime and nectarine curd was just tart enough to balance out the sweet crust. I changed the recipe up from this point forward, preferring to caramelize my nectarines and serve with crème fraiche instead of leaving them raw and serving with preserves, as the recipe called for. Trust me, you should do the same!
Nectarine and lime curd tart with brown sugar crust
Adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious
1 fairly ripe nectarines
5 egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
2 T lime juice
2 T butter
1/8 t vanilla
3/4 stick cold butter
1 C flour
1/3 C brown sugar
3/4 t salt
4 fairly firm nectarines
2 T butter
1/4 C sugar
Begin by making your crust. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and brown sugar. Using the tips of your fingers or a pastry blender, blend in the butter that has been cut into small cubes until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Press into the bottom of a tart pan and bake for 20 minutes at 375°.
While it’s cooking, make your curd! Purée the ripe nectarine and add it to a small sauce pan with the egg yolks, sugar, lime juice, butter and vanilla. Heat over medium-low heat and don’t ever stop whisking! After a few minutes (5-8, most likely) the mixture should thicken. As soon as it reaches a boil, remove from heat and let it cool while you take care of those remaining nectarines.
In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Remove skin and cut the nectarines into even slices about 1/2-3/4 inch thick on the skin end. Place in the saucepan and sprinkle with sugar. Stir slightly, then lower heat until the mixture is just barely at a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the nectarines are tender and the sauce has thickened.
To serve, simply line your pie crust with the cooled curd and arrange the caramelized nectarines on top. Don’t forget to scrape every last bit of the caramel sauce from the pan! Each slice should definitely be topped with a little spoonful of crème fraiche, marscapone or whipped cream. Yum!