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Nectarine Tart

from Picnics by Sara Deseran
Nectarine Tart

Tart Shell:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1 to 3 tablespoons ice water

Tart Filling:
6 cups (about 2 1/2 pounds) unpeeled nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in Sara Deseran's
from Chronicle Books


This gorgeous tart needs to be made a few hours in advance. Using a technique that chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Café in San Francisco favors, it is baked using a tart pan lined with frozen, raw dough. This eliminates having to prebake the shell and also gives the nectarines time to soften and caramelize. Although the raw tart shell can be frozen for as long as a month, the tart should be baked the same day of the picnic. For a more formal tart, arrange the nectarine slices in a spiral.

To make the tart shell: Combine the 1 1/2 cups flour and salt in a large mixing bowl or food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the flour, using a pastry cutter or pulsing in the food processor. When the dough resembles a coarse meal, add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the dough sticks together. Pat the dough into a flattened ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove the dough and as soon as it is pliable, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a circle approximately 1/8 inch thick and at least 13 inches in diameter. (You may have extra dough.) Gently place the rolled dough into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom so that it covers the bottom and sides completely. Patch any small holes or tears by pressing on extra pieces of rolled dough glued with a dab of ice water. To remove the dough hanging over the edges of the tart pan, use a knife or take a rolling pin and roll it over the edges.

Cover the tart shell with plastic wrap and freeze (at least 1 hour and up to a month). Do not defrost the tart shell before filling with the nectarines.

To make the tart filltng: Preheat the oven to 375°F Arrange an oven rack on the lowest level. Place the nectarines in a large bowl. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in another bowl, and mix well. Add the sugar mixture to the nectarines and gently combine, Sprinkle the flour onto the bottom of the frozen tart shell, spreading it around to thinly cover the entire bottom. (This will help prevent a soggy bottom crust.) Put the nectarine mixture into the shell and arrange the nectarines so that as many as possible are on the bottom, rather than stacked dot the top with the butter.

Bake the tart for approximately 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the nectarines are tender and a little brown or caramelized on the edges. The long baking gives the nectarines an intense flavor and helps assure that they will not be too juicy. To transport, leave in the tart pan and wrap well with plastic wrap.

Serves 8 to 10

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