Monday, July 9, 2012

Nectarine Crumb Tart

What's the difference between a tart and a pie? I could go on for hours, but right now the difference is that I own a tart pan, and I don't currently own a pie dish. OK they also have different base doughs, and a very different shape... but regardless of what you call it, you won't want to pass up this nectarine crumb tart. 

This is the season for fresh nectarines and peaches, and I'm not one to pass them up! I tend to always bake with nectarines simply because I hate removing the skin from peaches and some people don't enjoy the fuzzier texture they have in their baked goods. 

This standard tart dough is my classic - the perfect consistency and flavor. I don't want to make any changes to it - regardless of the fact that it makes more than enough dough for a 10" tart - so I make mini tarts too! I got about 9 extra mini tarts alongside my regular-sized tart - and nobody seems to complain when I give them mini tarts.

This dessert would certainly be delicious without the crumb topping, but I like adding a little extra crunch and flavor to the fruit. This is a very simple but tasty streusel mix that I've used in many different applications. You don't want to smother the whole tart with it, just add an extra little sprinkling on top.

21⁄2 cups (300 g) flour
1 cup (200 g) butter or margarine
1⁄2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 large egg 

4-5 medium nectarines
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the crust: Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to combine, then add the flour and mix until no streaks remain. Gather the dough together into one cohesive ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Dice the nectarines into small cubes. Toss with 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon and let sit for 10 minutes. Taste a piece or two of fruit and add sugar to taste.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll out on a well-floured surface (continuously reflouring during rolling) until about 1⁄2 centimeter thick. Use to cover either a large tart pan or smaller ones. For a large one, roll the dough to a diameter 2" larger than the pan, gently drape the dough over the dish, fit the dough in to the corners then trim the edges. For little pans, use a round cutter that is big enough to cover the bottom and sides of your tart pans, cut as many circles as possible from the dough and fit in to the molds, rerolling as necessary.
Place all the shells in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.

For the streusel, melt the butter, then add the flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon and stir with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

Spread the fruit in an even, single layer on the bottom of the shell. Using your fingers to break up the clumps, sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the fruit. 

Bake on 350 F for 30-45 minutes until the crust is lightly browned on the edges.

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