Rustic Nectarine and Blueberry Crostata

This is the ultimate summer tart really. A tender, flaky crust, filled with frangipane, fresh nectarines and blueberries.

Nectarine blueberry crostata5

These nectarines were so fresh, sweet and juicy, they were almost too good to use in this tart – almost! Any stone fruit and berries would work in this, but nectarines are my favourite summer fruit and work really well together with the blueberries.

The frangipane cream on the base of the fruit plumps up as it bakes in the oven, so as the tart expands, you can see little bits of the delicious almond mixture peeping up through all the juicy fruit.

I love making free form pies like this as they are so easy and the crust is so forgiving! It doesn’t have to be perfect; this is a lovely rustic and home-made tart, the perfect dessert on a hot summer day.

Nectarine blueberry crostata1

Ingredients:
Crust:

240g of plain/all-purpose flour
2tbs soft brown sugar, packed
½ tsp salt
170g butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated
Iced water

Frangipane:
60g ground almonds
60g room temperature butter
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
Zest of half an orange
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
2 tbs plain/all-purpose four

Fruit filling:
50g soft brown sugar – you might want to use more if your fruit is not overly sweet
2 tbs plain/all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 nectarines, each one cut into 8 wedges
1 small punnet of blueberries
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:
1 egg, beaten with a little milk to make a wash
Demerara/Turbinado sugar for sprinkling – about 2tbs

Nectarine blueberry crostata4

Method:
Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter into a food processor and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Add the iced water 1tbs at a time, while pulsing, until it just comes together. Turn out the dough, form into a circle, wrap in cling film and leave to chill for 30 minutes.

For the frangipane, use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat the almonds, butter, zest and salt together until light and fluffy. Then beat in the egg, almond extract and flour until smooth. Chill this until completely firm. I cheated and stuck it in the freezer while I prepared the fruit.

Nectarine blueberry crostata

For the fruit filling, my nectarines were super sweet, so they didn’t need too much sugar, but if you find yourself with rather tart fruit, then you can add a little more sugar.

I placed the nectarines, blueberries, four, salt and vanilla into a bowl and tossed gently until everything was coated. Everything was very juicy, so I didn’t need any extra liquid, but a squeeze of orange could be added at this stage too.

To assemble the tart, roll out the dough into a large circle on a lightly floured piece of parchment, or non-stick liner to a thickness of around a £1 coin.

Scrape the frangipane into the centre of the dough and smooth out with the back of the spoon, or an off-set spatula, leaving a good 2 inch border all the way around.

Leaving any extra juices behind in the bowl, pile the fruit (or very artistically arrange) on top of the frangipane, still leaving the border behind.

Brush the dough border with the egg wash and fold the crust up and over the filling, pleating and gently pressing down to seal the crust in place. The centre of the tart will remain exposed.

Brush the outside of the crust with the egg mixture and sprinkle the Demerara/turbinado sugar generously to coat. Then chill the tart until the whole thing has firmed up – around 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Nectarine blueberry crostata3

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F

Place the tart, still on the parchment or liner, onto a large baking sheet and bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden colour and the frangipane filling is cooked through. The tart will expand and spread out a little as it bakes and the frangipane filling will puff up and around the fruit.

Nectarine blueberry crostata2

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for around 10 minutes if serving warm with vanilla ice cream, or leave to go completely cold. The tart will firm up as it cools, making it a perfect dessert to take on a picnic.

Nectarine and Raspberry Frangipane Tart

At this time of year, I love all the lovely, ripe stone fruit that’s around.  I think my very favourite summer fruit of all is a nectarine.  They seem to be available all the year round in the supermarket, but despite inviting red skins, they are invariably crunchy and flavourless when you bite into one.  The perfect nectarine is only really available in summer and should be sweet, juicy and an absolute delight to eat.

Nectartine and Raspberry tart

This tart is the perfect summer dessert with fragrant frangipane, melt in the mouth pastry and topped with perfectly ripe nectarines and raspberries.  This tart was devoured very quickly by the family.  You could use peaches, which are also super good at this time of year, but I tend to skin them first as the skins tend to be a little thicker.

Crust:
200g plain/all-purpose flour
100g cold unsalted butter Cut into Pieces
40g brown caster/superfine sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 egg yolks
Iced water if needed

Frangipane filling:
Seedless raspberry jam
140g ground almonds
100g brown caster/superfine sugar
½ tsp almond extract
2 large eggs
50g flour
1tbs orange zest

2-3 nectarines sliced in crescent shapes
A handful of ripe raspberries

Sieved, warm apricot jam to glaze

For this particular recipe, I have used a 36cm x 12cm rectangular tart tin, but it will also work for a 23cm round tin or you can use four individual 8cm, shallow tartlet cases.

Nectarine tart2

Method:
Place flour, sugar, cinnamon if using and salt in the food processor fitted with the steel blade and mix.  Add the cold butter and pulse until just combined.  You should still be able to see small pieces of butter in the flour.  Add the yolks and pulse until the dough just starts to come together, using 1-2 tsp of the iced water if needed.

Tip out the dough and use your hands to form it into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line your tart tin, pricking the base with a fork.

Line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans, rice, pebbles or whatever you are using and bake blind for 10 minutes, uncovering and then baking for a further 10-15 minutes – until the pastry is dry to the touch. Leave to cool a little.

While the pastry is baking, prepare the filling.

Frangipane filling:
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted.  Mix in the almond extract, zest and eggs, added one at a time, making sure each is well combined before adding the next one.  Then add the ground almonds and finally stir in the flour until just combined.

Spoon a layer of raspberry jam over the cooled crust and then fill with the frangipane filling and top with the nectarine segments.  You don’t need to push the fruit in, the filling will puff up as it bakes and encase the fruit in the tart.

Bake at 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and a cocktail stick come out clean.

Nectarine tart

Leave tart to cool a little and either dust with icing sugar or use the glaze below and serve.  This tart is good warm or cold, but won’t be around for long as its so delicious.

Glaze:
5-6 tbs apricot jam
1-2 tbs water

Heat gently in a pan until the jam melts and stir in water to thin slightly.

When the glaze is runny, remove from heat and strain out any fruit pieces into a bowl and brush onto the tart.

The fruit can be amended to whatever is good and in season.

Tart2